Tallahassee, FL–Dear Abby wrote a nice column a few weeks ago about Parental Alienation. The letter is from a woman concerned that her brother is being driven out of his son’s life. “Frustrated Sis In Florida ” writes:
Parental alienation is a topic I have never seen addressed in your column. It is a problem with many divorces involving children. I think my brother is a victim of it. He lives in a different state than his little boy, but pays child support.
Abby, his ex continuously harasses him via text messaging and late-night phone calls, accusing him of things she thinks happened when they were together. You’d think she hasn’t moved on, but she has a new husband! She agreed that my brother could call his son twice a week, but she rarely answers the phone during these scheduled “visits.” She is now trying harder to keep my brother out of his son’s life. She even told my nephew that the presents my brother sent him for Christmas came from her new husband! My brother can’t afford a lawyer right now, but he is moving to Florida in the near future and I would like to help him resolve this issue. What are your thoughts on parental alienation?
One of Dear Abby’s comments in response is dead-on–“when a child grows up believing his father thought he was unimportant and expendable, it can negatively affect his sense of self-worth.” I’ve often thought that this is one of the worst aspects of Parental Alienation, particularly for boys. Mom says dad is bad, but as the boy grows up, who’s the person in the world he’s the most similar to? That’s right, dad–the guy he’s continually hearing vilified. What does that do to his self-image and self-confidence? How does that affect his desire to be a father? Read the rest of Dear Abby’s response, along with a well-deserved plug for David L. Levy of the CRC, by clicking here.