Parental Alienation is Considered a Public Health Threat

Mother holding son's hand and walking
Toxic parents who alienate their child’s other parent simply to hurt them are actually hurting their children as well.

Parental Alienation is when a child feels and expresses a very strong dislike (and sometimes even hatred) for one of their parents. It’s an issue that usually develops during or after a high conflict divorce, because of parental bullying and manipulation. However, it’s not the ‘hated’ parent who’s doing the bullying – it’s the other parent, using their child’s mind and emotions as tools to hurt their ex.

Parental alienation is the work of ‘toxic parents’.

Parental alienation often happens because of the actions of a toxic co-parent. In this scenario, the toxic parent manipulates their child, convincing them that the rejected parent is a “bad” person who isn’t worthy of their love or respect. Toxic parenting is sometimes referred to as ‘Hostile Aggressive Parenting’ and the devastating result is almost always the alienation of a parent.

Parental alienation is a widespread form of child abuse!

According to The National Parents Organization, parental alienation is widely recognized as a public health threat. And that recognition is growing with each passing year. The NPO points to a recent press release in which the chief executive of the U.K.’s Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass), Anthony Douglas says that the deliberate manipulation of a child by one parent against the other has become so common in family breakdowns that it should be dealt with like any other form of neglect or child abuse.

How does parental alienation affect society as a whole?

So why exactly would parental alienation constitute a public health issue, the NPO asks. Because according to their website, “parental alienation’s whole purpose is to remove as much as possible one parent from a child’s life. And, since both parents are important to children’s well-being – their mental and physical health, their educational success, career success, etc. – parental alienation impacts everyone”

Why isn’t parental alienation treated like other forms of child abuse?

Child abuse, whether physical, sexual or even psychological can and often is prosecuted in Michigan courts. So why is parental alienation treated like an unfortunate parenting choice and nothing more? According to, “The American Psychiatric Association has been slow to recognize PAS. The APA has argued PAS can’t be recognized as a mental disorder because it’s a parent-child relationship dysfunction.”

The times are slowly changing in Michigan – thankfully!

Ten years ago mentioning the term “parental alienation’ in court would have earned you a confused stare from the judge. Now, however, it’s a widely recognized problem, and the family courts in Michigan are taking steps to make sure that this issue doesn’t go unnoticed during divorce and custody proceedings.

Make sure you get the right help if you’re a victim of parental alienation

If you’re in the middle of a messy divorce or custody battle, and your soon-to-be-ex is turning your children against you, contact us immediately at 866 766 5245 at any time of day or night. We’re here for you at any time, night or day. Call and talk to one of our skilled family law attorneys, and let us help you save your relationship with your children. We’ve been fighting for our clients for decades, and we can help you too.