In high-conflicting and "winner-takes-all" custody battle, the existence of parental alienation is often unavoidable. As a matter of fact, the American Psychological Association (APA) has finally recognized and confirmed its prevalence as a form of psychological or emotional child abuse.
Based on the news release APA sent to Parent Herald, the organization has "no official position" on the existence of parental alienation as stated on its official APA policy in 2008. But APA changed its take on the issue after a 2016 petition titled, "New APA Position Statement: Some children are manipulated into rejecting a parent" ignited a review of the organization's 2008 policy.
With that said, APA CEO Dr. Cynthia D. Belar stressed that the organization has received several messages about parental alienation this October. Belar also vowed to seek the best solutions to address the increasing concerns about this psychological phenomenon that could damage a parent-child relationship.
"These events bound what direction the APA can take with its policy on parental alienation," APA analyst Pamela Roche said. "Future APA policy can neither deny the existence of parental alienation nor deny that it is child abuse, without contradicting published APA material."
So, what exactly is parental alienation? In a previous Parent Herald report, parental alienation was defined as a form of emotional and mental abuse where one parent brainwashes a child or children against the other parent. According to Huffington Post contributor and Parental Alienation Awareness Organization advocate Berni Xiong, parental alienation is a type of abuse that doesn't inflict "visible scars and bruises" but the torture that comes with it is certainly difficult to endure alone.
Due to the negative attributions, hostility and the unwarranted feelings of estrangement, parental alienation is deemed as a "clinical phenomenon" that gravely affects the wellbeing of a child. But it isn't only Belar who acknowledged the existence of parental alienation. In fact, former APA president Dr. Paul Fink admitted that parental alienation did exist and a lot of people are getting hurt because of this phenomenon.
Due to the strong arguments that evidently suggested the prevalence of parental alienation as a form of psychological abuse, Brazil and Mexico has considered it a "criminal act." In the United States, the Department of Justice has previously noted on its website that parental alienation is indeed a form of domestic violence because it's damaging one's relationship with the children.
Meanwhile, The Law Society Gazette revealed that several legal professionals are acknowledging the existence of parental alienation. However, the publication also stressed the fact that current campaigns and shared parenting laws are not enough to address this issue.
So, what are your thoughts on parental alienation? Please feel free to comment below and follow Parent Herald for more news and updates.
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