25 April is the official ‘Parental Alienation Awareness Day’. This is a term that many people will never have heard before, but many children and their parents will have experienced.
Parental Alienation (PAS) exists in many forms and the harm that is does to parents – and to the children – is inestimable.
International parenting expert Rosalind Sedacca of Child Centered Divorce explains that: “Parental Alienation is the darkest, most damaging consequence of divorce done wrong. It’s impact can last a lifetime — and it can boomerang on you in the years to come.”
If you want some scary statistics: In Psychology Today, Edward Kruk has written of 11-15% of the children of divorcing parents suffering the effects of implacable hostility – which is where one parent refuses to willingly allow access to the children by the other parent. In the UK, where roughly 250,000 divorces are granted every year, that estimate would equate to some 50,000-75,000 children every year.
PAS is a form of child abuse in many people’s opinion – but there are much more subtle and common forms of alienation, and not always against the non-resident parent.
This mother shares her story in a poignant short film which will resonate with many co-parents and children.
The Government pushing companies to better support employees through divorce
Iain Duncan-Smith was reported in The Telegraph saying that the Government was going to “push” companies into becoming better at identifying these problems and offering help before they get worse to help keep their employees in work.
But how can this be achieved?
As the UK’s Alternative Divorce Guide and promoter of dispute resolution professionals via the Alternative Divorce Directory, I wanted to create a solution.
The CoParenting in a Box resource is sharing videos like the one above with the help of employee benefits provider Perkbox – the first time that direct resources and support for parents has been shared with UK employees to empower them to reduce the amount of conflict that family separation can spark. Conflict that directly effects the productivity of the workforce.
300,000 UK employees – many of whom will be ‘co-parenting’ – will be able to access the online ‘box’ collection of key video interviews with experts, downloadable resources and complimentary 1-1 expert advice, all available within CoParenting in a Box. Videos include those of young adults explaining the significant affects of one of their parents making them hate the other parent – or simply disrespect them – on there ability to relate healthily to others and to themselves in later life.
Accessible online for a very low cost (I am determined to keep this resource as affordable as possible to every parent who splits in the UK) – the ‘box’ is also available at no charge via trusted partners like Perkbox. Other organisations on the Partnership Page are Resolution, National Family Mediation, Families Need Fathers and Voices in the Middle.
Most of the content has been created specifically to educate parents, and includes informative videos from experts such as Mediator and Arbitrator Nadia Beckett, who often gets asked by clients: “How do I get to see my children?”. Her advice is to be careful about rushing off to court to resolve these issues, a course of action that can seriously backfire.
Videos for co-parenting education and empowerment
I am delighted to be one of the participants in the forthcoming 1001 Critical Days Manifesto “Tomorrow’s Child” exhibition at the Houses of Parliament – which brings scientists and artists together to raise awareness about the importance of the early days of conception and childhood to future health and wellbeing – using video as my medium.
I love to collect real stories that when shared, empower others. Whether that is a story shared by a family mediator or collaborative lawyer about the sometimes disastrous effects of battling for child custody through the courts, to a mother sharing her experience of her child’s father ‘saying bad things’ about her. Videos are easy to watch on mobile devices and shared stories are powerful ways to educate and inspire others.
It’s just no good waiting until people are in the middle of divorce to ‘educate’ them about how not to make a huge mess of it all. My hope is that via proactive employers and partnerships, together we can make that key knowledge accessible and easily available way before the madness of divorce and breakup kick in.
CoParenting in a Box is available direct from www.co-parentinginabox.co.uk
The Partnership Page – which includes innovative employee benefits provider Perkbox – is here: https://startingovershow.com/partnership-page-coparenting-in-a-box/