Glenn Sacks has a post about Parental Alienation Awareness Day 2007.
I don't think it's a stretch to say that most of us in the West know people who come from broken homes and were alienated from their non-custodial parents (usually the father).
Usually, the children are turned against their father by a vindictive, selfish ex-wife who uses her children as a weapon to hurt her ex-husband, and also as a means of extorting money.
The worst part of it, is that most children who are being used in this way have no idea they are simply pawns in a sick game, and they truly believe their Fathers are heartless, uncaring pigs that have abandoned them because they don't love them. Many never realize that their mothers either drove their fathers out of the picture for her own selfish reasons, or that she took the children away and have brainwashed them.
But not every case of Parental Alienation works out that way. Sometimes, the Father IS a real deadbeat dad. But even in those cases, most Mothers fail to own up to their responsibility in choosing an irresponsible man to sire children with them.
They get to play the role of "victim" of a "typical male" and place all the blame on him - and they usually express this sentiment repeatedly to the innocent children - both consciously and subconsciously. This invariably harms her children regardless of their gender. It teaches that girls are never wrong, that it's ok to make bad decisions and be irresponsible because it's always "his" fault, while boys grow up hating their fathers and unknowingly hating themselves. What these selfish, angry women don't realize is that teaching a young boy to hate his father is teaching him to hate himself.
I say this because I personally know of people that have been scarred by such behavior. And than I also know of a few exceptions to this rule as well...
I have a close friend who did choose a "bad boy" as the father of her first two children. They lived together for a few years, and eventually got married...while he was a drug using, hard drinking philanderer that cheated on her consistently.
After she finally opened her eyes to the truth of what she married, and realized that she was NEVER going to be able to "fix" him, she left with the kids.
It is now 10 years later, and she remarried a "good guy." But what I really commend her for is her honesty with her children and the way she handled the post-divorce custody issues. She was aware of how Parental Alienation can negatively affect her children, and she strove to avoid doing it as best she could.
She never played games with visitation, and she never bothered him for child support or sent the courts after him. She consciously strove to avoid bad mouthing their father, and she let the kids visit their father whenever they wanted to...and when the kids themselves would see how their father acted - selfish, whacked out on drugs or drunk, bringing around his skank of the week and flaking out on plans for taking them places and doing things -- they would ask their mom why he would act that way.
It was only then that she would tell her children that all of the problems they were going through was her fault for choosing the wrong man to father them, and that she was really sorry that they had suffer for her own bad judgement in men, and that they should love and respect their step-father as the example of a good man.
In short, the boys were alienated from their father...not because she turned them against him, but because he turned them away from himself through his own behavior. But I'm happy to say that both those boys have grown up in a much more happy, stable environment with a stable, loving and supportive Step-Father who has adopted them and provided for them financially and served as a positive role model...while their biological father is still a 36 year old live-at-home with his mother, drug dealing, womanising loser.
If only more Women where as honest and responsible as my friend was, and would own up to their own mistakes and be much more critical in choosing men to make children with, than a Parental Alienation Awareness Day would not be necessary.