The Effect on Children
“Parental alienation is a form of emotional abuse that damages the child’s self esteem in the short run and is associated with life-long damage.” Dr Amy J.L. Baker Ph.D., Director of Research at the Fontana Center for Child Protection
The impact on children whose parents separate is well documented. However, these effects are considerably more prevalent when the separation is hostile, as in Parental Alienation.
- nearly five times as likely to suffer from emotional disorders
- nearly three times as likely to have behavioural problems
- less likely to perform well in school
- more likely to leave school/home when young
- more than twice as likely to be involved in crime
- more likely to smoke, drink alcohol, and take drugs
- more likely to become sexually active, pregnant, or a parent at an early age
In order to satisfy the alienating parent, the child learns to suppress their positive feelings for the other parent and his/her extended family. This corruption of learned and biological values confuses and distresses the child. The child receives the message that s/he is worthless and unloved and only of value for meeting the needs of others.
Adults who were victims of Parental Alienation as children, report negative long-term effects, including:
- low self-esteem
- drug abuse
- trust issues
- alienation from their own children when they became parents themselves