Recognize parental alienation


Posted By 

Michael Murphy,

April 25, 2009

The City of Sault Ste. Marie proclaimed April 25 as the fourth annual Parental Alienation Day.

This year 15 countries participated.

Parental Alienation (PA) can cause children emotional problems ranging from mild trauma to severe psychological tribulations.

Pamela Richardson, a Canadian mother, wrote the book A Kidnapped Mind, detailing her ordeal and the subsequent suicide of her son, Dash. More recently a mother in Toronto killed her 18-month-old toddler son, Jayden Bernard, to prevent the father from seeing him. This is the most extreme kind of PA possible.

PA is prevalent in our community with past court cases in the public record involving it and current activity before the family court where it has been used against target parents to get a "leg up" in custody battles. Family courts in Canada are starting to recognize the seriousness of the manipulation of young children and are reversing custody as a result.

I have discussed this emotional abuse of children with the Algoma Children's Aid Society over the past four years and they can do little to combat it. They cannot see the psychic bruising and it is outside of their current protective mandate. The Family Preservation Program operated by the CAS does do its best with highly motivated dedicated staff.

With awareness we can educate to create understanding and through understanding legislative changes can be made to create environments reducing the conflict which creates this behaviour.

One of the first must be changes to the divorce act making shared and equal parenting a rebuttable presumption for fit parents. Those who daily supervise or provide mental health services for children will be better equipped to recognize why children exhibit certain responses.

Michael Murphy,

Old Garden River Road