What is parental alienation?

The 25th April 2020 is Parental Alienation Awareness Day.

Non-Governmental Organisation Happy Parenting – Malta (for Happier Children) joins the rest of the countries around the globe to commemorate this reality and to educate about this phenomenon.

In a statement, the NGO stated that, parallel to the voluntary work carried out by numerous professionals supporting it, it is spreading a positive message in favor of the unity of couples in their relationship and the positive parenting of their children.

“In cases of troubled relationships, especially when children are involved, the couple is encouraged to make a distinction between the adults’ role as partners in the relationship and their parenting role. In cases when the adults see no light at the end of the tunnel, they are highly encouraged to seek professional help of Family Therapists or other professionals offering Psychotherapy or Counselling,” the NGO said.

Unfortunately, in some cases, reality is more sensitive due to mental health issues at stake, making way for further multi-disciplinary support of professionals like psychiatrists, it continued.

What is Parental Alientation?

Parental alienation, a form of domestic violence and psychological and emotional abuse, occurs when one of the parents or a family member systemically removes a parent from the child’s life through malicious and subtle manipulation, making the child to unjustifiably reject, disrespect, limit contact with and possibly making false allegations against the other parent.

How serious are the effects of Parental Alienation?

Parental Alienation causes a lot of psychological and emotional harm to children, effecting their developmental progress and their ability to relate with others, especially in future relationships. Not to mention the suffering caused to parent victims. , Less than a year ago, the World Health Organisation (WHO) acknowledged this as a mental health issue.

What does research say?

Although Parental Alienation is carried out by both male and female parents, in the majority of cases, around 80%, the victims are fathers, possibly due to the traditional culture of courts giving mothers the custody of their children.

What’s the situation in Malta regarding Parental Alienation?

During the last twelve months, Happy Parenting – Malta (for Happier Children) was registered as an NGO,  aiming at educating and offering professional support to victims. This happens through regular support groups meetings of the NGO’s officials with victims (women, men, children, and other family members)and professionals voluntarily contributing by the sharing of their expertise.

Anthony Cauchi, Parental Alienation Support Group Leader within this NGO confirmed that through the NGO’s work with its members in Malta, it is estimated that around 90% of the victims are men.

You can contact Happy Parenting – Malta (for Happier Children) through its Facebook page or through a text or call on 99565730.