The governors of Maine and, now, Iowa have established April 25th as Parental Alienation Awareness Day.
These declarations purport to legitimize Parental Alienation as a psychological disorder associated with high-conflict child custody disputes.
But while these two governors may recognize it as a psychological disorder, neither the American Psychological Association or any other qualified organization recognizes it as such.
Father’s groups tout it and have used it as a kind of political pressure tactic to win greater access to their children – regardless of whether that serves the children’s best interests.
Which is why mother’s groups oppose its recognition, crediting it with handing child custody over to abusers.
While there are cases of one parent deliberately trying to turn children against the other parent for no valid reason, there do not appear to be any studies measuring how frequently – or infrequently – that actually occurs.
The true numbers may not bear any relation to the “buzz” over parental alienation.
And anecdotal evidence casts doubt over whether children benefit from recognition and application of this theory in custody disputes – or whether they are hurt by its misuse.