Not all holidays are created to sell greeting cards and flowers. Many are started to bring attention to something that our society needs to address. Parental Alienation Awareness Day, which hits in the spring, was designed to do just that – make more people aware of how children are harmed when they are alienated from one parent and how to prevent our family courts from becoming unwitting perpetrators of this offense. As the year charges on, we must continue to address this unfortunate reality.
Parent alienation – characterized by behaviors that intentionally damage the relationship a parent has with a child – is an increasingly common form of abuse. It can affect intact families but is much more common among children affected by separation or divorce. To decrease the rates of parental alienation affecting our children, it is time Virginia updates its laws to support shared parenting.