Parental Alienation: Legal Child Abuse

by Barbara Dircksen

Parental Alienation: Legal Child Abuse

Parental Alienation is also referred to as Hostile Aggressive Parenting and it is a form of legal child abuse. It occurs when one parent undertakes a deliberate campaign to turn the child against the other and undermine the child’s love for that other parent. Child custody battles are often complicated with hostile aggressive parenting, false accusations and situations where one parent alienates or brainwashes a child against the other parent with no evidence of wrongdoing. Child custody laws do not prevent hostile aggressive parenting and the most devastating cases often result in the alienation of affection toward one parent. The number of cases is steadily increasing at an alarming rate.


Does parental alienation affect you or someone you know or love? Half of all marriages end in divorce, most involving children. Approximately one third of children are born out of wedlock. Many of the parents of these children, will sometimes, act out in an unreasonable or irrational manner when dealing with their children and the other parent. Whether it is intentional or not, this causes inexcusable torment to the child by creating a constant tug-of-war between them and their parents. In an increasing number of parents, their behavior towards the opposite parent becomes so offensive that, over time, the relationship between the children and the opposite parent is eventually destroyed along with the general well-being of the child.


Parental Alienation is a serious problem and is progressively on the rise. It is affecting millions of innocent children every day. Many more are at risk. Families that were once extraordinarily close are slowly and painfully torn apart by the continuous, deceitful brainwashing of hatred and disrespect. Valuable relationships are ruined. Its long-term effects can cause devastating feelings of guilt, hopelessness, and despair for both the targeted parent and the child.


Parental Alienation (PA) is a cruel and agonizing form of mental abuse. However, the court system rarely distinguishes it as such. This constant form of mental abuse creates havoc, not only for the targeted parent, but for the child as well. Most court officials, school personnel, and mental health professionals fail to recognize the full ramifications of this unspeakable act of contempt.


Parental Alienation occurs over a period of time, when one parent continuously uses a number of brainwashing strategies in an attempt to turn their child totally against the other parent.

Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) is an actual condition that occurs within the child, where the child self-creates their own unjustified campaign to degrade or belittle the targeted parent. PAS is a direct result from the mental manipulation that has taken place from the alienating parent. Many times the alienating parent doesn’t even realize they are putting the very happiness and well-being of their child in jeopardy. They become so consumed with bitterness and hatred that getting even with the other parent becomes their number one priority, even if it is at their child’s expense.


In my particular case, the parent alienation syndrome (PAS) happened over the course of approximately six years. During that time, I have helplessly stood by as I slowly and painfully watched my loving daughter drastically transform from a gentle, caring, compassionate little girl into a hateful, rebellious, inconsiderate, disrespectful, and abusive bully. Most people probably never saw this truly obnoxious side of her the way I did because I was her main target. Through the years, her spiteful father had been continuously programming her to act out in an oppositional and hostile manner towards me, her doting, beloved mother, and it eventually sunk in. I never thought it would. It just goes to show that persistence usually does pay off in the end.

It took six years but her father had finally succeeded in turning my daughter against me.  All of the never-ending brainwashing that continuously took place, day after day for six years, had taken a toll on her. She had been taught to disrespect me so badly that getting her to mind me was next to impossible. She treated me so terribly that being with her was nearly unbearable.


She ultimately chose to live with her father.


I hope in my heart that one day, my daughter and I will reunite and regain the trust and love that we once shared. In the meantime, I am on a mission to educate and make people aware of this increasingly widespread epidemic, known as Parental Alienation Syndrome.


I also have written a book,  sharing private events from my personal life to give a glimpse of what life can be like, when dealing with an alienating parent. The stories are appalling, but real. The book reveals the horrifying series of events that eventually led to the cruel and heartbreaking alienation that took place between my daughter and I. I wrote about my ordeal as a way of helping me cope with the loss of my daughter who is currently suffering from Parent Alienation Syndrome.


It has become my passion to spread awareness and help make a difference. Let’s protect the children and put an end to this dreadful form of legal child abuse. It all begins with the parents and ends with school personnel, mental health professionals, and court officials. Parental Alienation hurts and should not be tolerated. It leaves lasting emotional scars that may take a lifetime to heal, if ever. Parental Alienation needs to be recognized as abuse and punishable as abuse. Only then we might start to see a change for the better.