Advice Column, Parenting

Parental Alienation

  • South African Divorce Support Association
  • Category Advice Column, Parenting

Parental Alienation is a term which has become synonym with acrimonious divorces and seems to become an increasing and concerning problem.

Angry parents, through the power of manipulation and control, turn their child/ren against their other parent in a manner that it looks like it is the child/ren’s choice to cut all ties with that one parent.

It is particularly destructive to the child/ren who are acting under total trust of the toxic parent and when, eventually, mature enough to start questioning why they are disconnected from that one parent, they will read into the manipulations of the “loved” parent at a cost of now possibly damaging that relationship too.

There is no denying that some separations are particularly hurtful and hard to overcome, but nothing, apart for the obvious sexual abuse or criminal behaviour by a parent, accounts for a parent to set the children up as a means to gratify their hurt and anger.

Some call it a criminal act, others children abuse and others a mental disorder. Regardless of the label it holds, the bottom line is, it is seriously hurting children and robbing them of a childhood in which they should have enjoyed a relationship with both their parents.

The law seems to be powerless against this situation or ill manages it, which further tears down any chances for that family to heal.

There is unfortunately presently no clear solution or remedy, but what is evident is that separating parents who find themselves overwhelmed with negative feelings need to prioritise their emotional state with the wellbeing of their children in mind.

People overwhelmed by their feelings, who are left unsupported or ill-advised in this life changing transition will struggle to move forward and resort to hurtful behaviour.

In some countries, like the USA, divorcing parents are mandated to take a parenting class prior to their divorce and have to Mediate before they choose to Litigate. It may not be the solution for all, as Parental Alienation is still thrive in the USA too, despite these measures, but understanding that this is, first and foremost, an emotional process which needs to be given necessary attention before the legal divorce is tackled.

Also, the targeted parent needs to take responsibility for their role in the conflict and how they are feeding it. When at a loss it is understandable that being the recipient of such vile anger will trigger an equal aggressive reaction, but if anything needs to be learned from this cycle of conflict, is that no conflict ever get resolved by throwing more fuel onto the fire. Understanding the level and origin of anger of your ex is important to tone down the conflict and offer an alternative to save the children from a childhood which will permanently wound them.

About the author

Related Posts


  • Pertunia (pretty.mo76) June 21, 2023 at 7:27 am

    Always ready to learn 😌

  • Pertunia (pretty.mo76) June 21, 2023 at 7:29 am

    Growing up I had a fear of alienation because of my parents but I’m working on it.


Leave a Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.