April the 25th is Parental Alienation Awareness Day, a day to think about the millions of children across the world who are facing unjustified estrangement from family members.
A day to raise awareness, a day to focus on the damage this causes children.
Unjustified estrangement to all involved is heartbreaking, parents apart from their children, grandparents apart from their precious grandchildren, siblings not able to connect, the entire family relationship is broken and shattered.
Family breakdown is devastating and for children a confusing and worrying time, of course they want everyone to be happy and to have their family intact.
Anyone who thinks it doesn’t effect children, are wrong.
That isn’t to say that if a relationship between two people has broken down that ‘you must stay together for the sake of the children’, in some cases home life can be a turbulent place when Mum and Dad aren’t getting on, but the children love both their parents and naturally want them to stay together.
Many couples manage a separation as well as they can, and the children’s well-being and welfare are put first as they should be. It is not the children whose relationship has broken down but the parents.
What we sadly see is when it all goes horribly wrong, the adults put themselves first, for many reasons be that power and control, but the children are used as weapons.
It is inevitable that separation will occur we can’t prevent it, but we should have in place agencies who can come together quickly and to help and support the whole family to make separation and divorce as smooth as it can be. We have witnessed over the last 12 months how with commitment and proper funding just how quickly scientists and experts have worked as one to find vaccines, to protect billions of people all over the world.
Surely, if it can be done over a pandemic, the pandemic of family breakdown can also win through.
Family Courts are not the place for relationship breakdowns, as hundreds and thousands of victims of the Family Justice System will testify.
We need a total change of direction, a reimagining of how best to help and support broken families.
Children care about their family history, their identity, and society needs to change to put the well-being and welfare of children at the forefront of everything.
Not just in words but in action.
We deserve a family that we can look up to, to love us unconditionally, We expect our Mum and Dad to bring us up equally, our grandparents to love us , and our sisters and brothers to always be there for us when we need them. Our family are our blood, our identity our history.
Sometimes our family doesn’t live up to out expectations, we are mistreated, we are not respected, we are not loved.
When any member of our family puts their needs first, they have let us down, we are isolated and alone.
And you wonder why we feel sad, angry and confused?
You are the adults, we are children. Listen to our voices.