What is Parental Alienation?

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Soila Sindiyo  Child Trauma Therapist  Founder of The Divorce Magazine
Soila Sindiyo
Child Trauma Therapist
Founder of The Divorce Magazine

What is Parental Alienation?

Let me tell you a story about someone I know personally.

He is a good dad, separated from his wife but sees his son as often as possible or when mum permits it.

His son, let’s call him Sammy, is now 10 years old.  His parents separated when he was a toddler.

Sammy has never had a sleep over at his dad’s who lives less than an hour away and they have never been on holiday together. Mum always tags along.

She, however, can go on holiday without as much of a word to my friend and explain to Sammy that “Daddy said he doesn’t want to come.”

Since the separation, my friend  he has been painted as the disciplinarian, the mean one, the one who is capable of abducting him.

When he is called over to fix the computer or put up shelves etc, my friend will rush over because he knows he will get to see his son.

It’s the comments from mum, while he is there, that really get to him.  “Daddy does try to fix things but he really isn’t that good is he Sammy?”

“Look, daddy’s late again.  He is always late.  When will you make it on time just so that your son doesn’t have to be kept waiting?”

My friend receives calls from his ex-wife when their son  misbehaves and needs to be disciplined.

He only gets to see his son when mum says it’s ok and for only a few hours because she is convinced and has managed to convince Sammy too, that my friend will abduct him.

She has even given her son skills on “how to get away from daddy  incase he tries to take you away by force” and warned him against making daddy angry because he can get really mad!

My friend rarely knows what’s happening at school in terms of performances, sports days etc which means he is usually unable to attend.  –  “Daddy was busy.”

My friend has now taken to speaking with the school directly to get the information for himself.

On and on goes the “brainwashing” so it was no wonder that for the longest time Sammy  very rarely looked forward to seeing daddy and spending anytime with him. Most of the time he would insist that mummy comes too – obviously as a means for him to feel safe.

Interesting thing is that, Sammy is now able to voice his feelings and ask questions that are bugging him.  With the answers he is getting, the picture that his mother has painted for him all this time is beginning to look a little dubious and questionable.

Sammy is growing up.

How will his mother explain her actions and words to him.  She interfered with their relationship and created a monster in Sammy’s eyes.

Before long, he will realise just what type of person she really is.


Soila is the founder of The Divorce Magazine and creator of the online course – Helping Children Cope with Divorce

She is known for taking away the pain of trauma and loss in children, adolescents and their families and is the author of “When Love is Broken. A read-together book for children and parents going through divorce and separation.

Soila holds an MSc in Psychoanalytic Developmental Psychology from UCL (University College London), is an accredited Positive Parenting Program (Triple P) practitioner and a trained Family Mediator.

Soila is Graduate Member of the British Psychological Society.

You can contact her on 07850 85 60 66 or via email soila@thedivorcemagazine.co.uk 


  1. How true this is.

    When the child grows up they will realize ‘what really happened’. While this is great, the real tragedy remains of what this child missed out on over the years! All of the day to day conversations, help with home work, meeting and interacting with friends, teaching life lessons and all of the missed holidays and creating of memories.

    Shame on any parent who makes efforts to inhibit the parent child relationship. Parents have a responsibility to put the needs and wants of their child before their own. Ultimately, the child loses out.

    • Thank you Ruth for your comment.

      I am founding editor of The Divorce Magazine but my main “job” is running my private practice (parentinglives.co.uk) as a Developmental Psychologist and Parenting Practitioner which involves providing Triple P parenting course to parents court ordered to attend one. I have to say that ALL the parents I have provided such courses to have been fathers! All of them and most of the time, it appears that they are not the ones who need to be taking the course but the other party or even better both parents. There is such an imbalance at the in divorce when it comes to children, it’s incredible. When it comes to Parental Alienation, I’m not saying that it’s always mums doing the alienation though. It can come from the dad too.

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