Parental Alienation is Child Abuse

Sadly, parental alienation deeply touches the hearts of too many parents. It’s a reality we can’t overlook or underestimate. In the world of child maltreatment, parental alienation meets the standard, universally accepted criteria for child abuse. In 2024, this understanding is firmly grounded in science and compassion. Yet, despite this understanding, there are still those who argue otherwise, clinging to outdated beliefs. But their claims don’t hold up under scrutiny, for several deeply compelling reasons.

First and foremost, parental alienation aligns with the very definitions of psychological maltreatment outlined in trusted sources like:


These authorities define child psychological abuse as: non-accidental verbal or symbolic acts that cause significant psychological harm to the child. Think about it – manipulating a child’s developing brain…also called Brainwashing with allegations, lies, suggestions, subtle hints or overt statements. Purposefully placing a child in a loyalty conflict, a situation designed to make the child question whether he or she is loved is undeniably harmful. In fact it is sick. It is disgusting. It’s downright shameful. And any parent or family member that does it should be jailed for child abuse.

Moreover, the impact of psychological and emotional abuse on a child’s life trajectory cannot be overstated. Research has shown that these forms of abuse can be just as damaging, if not more so, than other forms of abuse. Interestingly, it has been linked that physical abuse and brain washing many times are simultaneous behaviors many sick parents conduct.  Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) have been linked to long-term physical and mental health issues, even affecting the very structure of the brain at a cellular level. Yet, despite this knowledge, parental alienation cases are often brushed aside as insignificant. But every child’s emotional wellbeing is invaluable, deserving of our utmost attention and care.
As child parents, our number one priority in these cases is clear: protecting the child from further harm. Yet, too often, the focus shifts away from the child’s safety and towards repairing the relationship with the alienating parent. Instead of addressing the root cause of the child’s distress, reunification therapy is often prescribed, even though it rarely brings about positive outcomes and can sometimes exacerbate the situation. It’s like applying a band-aid to a deep wound – it may cover the surface, but it doesn’t address the underlying pain.
Even when traditional therapies are mandated by court order, their effectiveness in treating parental alienation is questionable at best. Despite decades of research highlighting their limited success, they continue to be recommended and administered, perpetuating a cycle of ineffective intervention. This raises important questions about why clinicians persist in these practices. Is it a lack of awareness? Or perhaps a reluctance to embrace alternative approaches?
It’s not just a matter of ineffectiveness – traditional therapies can actually make things worse. By empowering the already empowered child and further disempowering the rejected parent, they perpetuate the imbalance of power within the family dynamic. This not only hinders progress but can cause irreparable damage to the parent-child relationship.
In considering the risks and benefits of intervention, it becomes clear that separating a child from a toxic alienating parent is often the safest course of action. Yet, in courtrooms around the world, misguided opinions prevail, arguing against protective separation based on unfounded fears. It’s time we base our decisions on evidence, not sensationalist predictions.
In conclusion, parental alienation is a deeply concerning issue that demands our attention and compassion. As parents, it’s our duty to advocate for the wellbeing of every child, ensuring they are protected from harm and provided with the support they need to thrive. Let’s work together to challenge outdated beliefs and embrace evidence-based practices that truly serve the best interests of the child.
If your child is a victim of parental alienation, please reach out to your local social services. Document everything.
There are ways to fight the alienation that we discuss here. Catch it early. Give your child space to question what they have been told. Remain calm. And most importantly, despite your anger, never blame the child. They are the victim of sick, twisted adults.
I encourage every concerned parent to read the below book. You can click the link to be taken to the American Bar Association. You can also find it anywhere books are sold.

Children Held Hostage: Identifying Brainwashed Children, Presenting a Case, and Crafting Solutions By Stanley S Clawar and Brynne V Rivlin, Second Edition, American Bar Association

Further Information:

Alienation and DSM5

The European Journal of Parental Alienation Practice

Parental Alienation Europe

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