Parental Alienation and the Bystander Effect

Parental Alienation

This is a true story. A parent recently made a call to the local Family Maintenance Enforcement Program, which had indicated by letter that should he have any concerns about ongoing child support issues, he could call the agency to discuss matters. His “concern” had in fact escalated over a period of thirteen years of forced estrangement from his child to a profound fear for the health and well-being of his son, now in his early twenties. Despite the invitation to call the agency, the curt reply to his desperate entreaties to the program officer was, first, that parental alienation was not an issue of professional concern to the agency as “the jury is still out on whether parental alienation even exists”; and second, that there was absolutely nothing the agency could do for him. The call was then abruptly ended by the program officer.

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