Posts Tagged ‘Advocacy’

Misplaced priorities dominate Penn State discussion and our lives

Friday, November 11th, 2011

I don’t know about anyone else, but I’ve heard about all I can stand on how allegations of sexual misconduct are tarnishing Penn State football’s formerly pristine reputation and the legacy of its iconic former coach, Joe Paterno. 

In fact, if we, as a society, spent half as much time talking about the affect abuse has on its victims and their families as we’re spending debating whether or not Paterno’s failure to “do more” wipes away his many accomplishments on and off the field, we could educate millions about the long-term affects of all forms of abuse.

As a society, our priorities are misplaced. We spend billions of dollars every year buying tickets to sporting events or jerseys promoting our favorite teams, but when it comes to financially supporting organizations that are working to help families avoid various forms of abuse, such as the Parental Alienation Awareness Organization (PAAO), we often turn away. We spend countless hours every weekend watching football games, but have no time to donate our skills and expertise to an organization like the PAAO.

So here’s what I propose. Instead of buying a new Penn State football jersey or tickets to watch Kobe Bryant or Michael Vick play their respective sports, donate the money to a non-profit organizaiton that is working to eliminate the type of abuse associated with these athletes and institutions. Purchase books, DVDs and informational materials on all forms of abuse and donate them to your local libraries, churches and community counseling agencies. If you are a writer, photographer, IT expert, Marketing professional, Public Relations pro, videographer or website expert, donate your time and expertise to an agency low on resources. And if you believe parental alienation is emotional abuse, donate to the PAAO — http://www.paawareness.org/

We’ve spent a lot of time this past week discussing all sorts of secondary issues that resulted after a football coach allegedly sexually abused young boys a decade ago. Isn’t it is about time we focused on the primary issue that led to all these other conversations?

A day for alienated children

Friday, April 22nd, 2011

How ironic that this year Parental Alienation Awareness Day falls the day after Easter Sunday and right in the middle of Passover — two holidays known for bringing families together.

Targeted parents who won’t be with their alienated children on the holidays this year can join other parents and children for the 6th Annual Parental Alienation Awareness Day on April 25. Events are scheduled in communities in 22 different countries. These family-friendly events include local dignitaries reading proclamations supporting parental alienation awareness, information tables and free brochures with details about about local parental alienation support groups and resources, and “Bubbles of Love,” a synchronized bubble blowing exercise.

The goal of Parental Alienation Awareness Day is to educate the public, legislators and legal and mental health professionals about parental alienation; a destructive family dynamic affecting countless children, parents and extended family members every year. In parental alienation one parent damages, and in some cases destroys, the previously normal, healthy relationship between a child and the child’s other parent.

“It’s bad enough that children have to pay the price when their parents divorce,” says Mike Jeffries, author of A Family’s Heartbreak: A Parent’s Introduction to Parental Alienation. “Parents should assure the children that both Mom and Dad still love them and will continue to take care of them — not drag the kids into the middle of the adult conflict and force them to choose sides.” 

Jeffries indicated that he will participate in the Parental Alienation Awareness Day Candlelight Vigil beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the Capital Building in Hartford, Connecticut. For more information about this event contact Ken Krajewski at 860-881-6311.

You can find information on other Parental Alienation Awareness Day events at http://www.paawarenessday.com/.

Support the PAAO this holiday season

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

In difficult economic times the non-profit organizations are hit the hardest. Big donors donate less, and the casual donors often can’t afford to donate anything at all.

The  Parental Alienation Awareness Organization (PAAO) helps alienated parents get through the holidays with empathy and support. The PAAO is also focused on the future, and is busy creating programs for 2011 and beyond that will raise awareness of parental alienation and help other families avoid the pain and heartbreak of this destructive family dynamic.

A Family’s Heartbreak LLC. is hoping you will include the PAAO in your holiday giving plans this year. A $20 donation will help the PAAO move forward with its advocacy initiatives. Can you please make a donation today? You can donate at https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=LMKVCH5MJQN5U.

Become a parental alienation advocate

Monday, August 30th, 2010

Targeted parents often write www.afamilysheartbreak.com and ask how they can transition from alienated parent to alienation advocate. These brave parents are typically powerless over their own situations, yet want to help other families avoid the heartbreak that they’ve experienced.

As Mike Jeffries, author of A Family’s Heartbreak: A Parent’s Introduction to Parental Alienation said at D.C. Rally Fest 2010 last month (Part I and Part II), we can all apply our unique skills to parental alienation advocacy. “If you can write, write about parental alienation. If you can sell, sell the idea that parental alienation is a problem that needs fixing. If you design buildings or corporate strategies, apply the same problem solving skills you use at work to parental alienation,” Jeffries said. “The key to becoming an effective advocate is to move past your personal pain and approach parental alienation advocacy work objectively,” he added.

Even if you are not a writer, salesperson, engineer or corporate strategist, you can help raise awareness of parental alienation by sharing A Family’s Heartbreak: A Parent’s Introduction to Parental Alienation, or any parental alienation book, with others. For example, you can:

Give a book to a friend, even a stranger, as a gift.

Ask your local library to order a book.

If you have a web site or blog, consider writing something about a book you’ve read, and how the book helped you.

Write a book review for your local paper or favorite web site. Ask your favorite radio show to book the author as a guest.

If you own a shop or business, consider putting a display of books on your counter to resell to customers.

Buy books and donate them to homeless shelters, prisons, rehabilitation and group homes.

If you are a pursuing a degree in psychology, counseling, social work or any mental health field, ask your professors to incorporate parental alienation into their course overviews and put parental alienation books on their reading lists.

Sometimes, the best idea is so obvious you have to laugh. A targeted parent once called us desperate to educate the public about parental alienation. He was very passionate about doing something, but he rejected each idea we suggested. Finally, out of ideas, we changed the subject. 

“What do you do for a living,” we asked?

“I’m a movie producer,” he responded.

Parental alienation awareness has its own day

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

There are all sorts of official days on the calendar.

Every January 19th we’re asked to celebrate National Popcorn Day. April 16th is set aside for Stress Awareness Day. Mother Goose has her own day on May 1st. Even catfish, thanks to a proclamation signed by catfish-loving President Ronald Reagan in 1987, get June 25th to call their own.

At A Family’s Heartbreak we love popcorn, we’re opposed to stress of any kind, and we would never say a bad word about Mother Goose. We don’t even mind catfish having their own day, even though we’re more partial to salmon. I’m sure if we would have budgeted more than five minutes for research we would have discovered that there is a National Salmon Day too.

However there is one day that deserves to stand apart from days acknowledging snack foods, nursery rhymes and fresh water fish. Parental Alienation Awareness Day is April 25. This is the fifth consecutive year that parents, friends and family members will gather on April 25 and bring attention to parental alienation — a destructive family dynamic that is destroying countless loving, parent/child relationships all over the world.  On April 25 from Boston to Brazil, London to Los Angeles, and Singapore to Sydney, people will light candles, blow bubbles and share their heartbreaking stories — all to educate elected officials, legal and mental health professionals about a mental health issue that should not be ignored or mischaracterized any longer.

Contrary to what many damaged people and zealous advocates on the web would have you believe, parental alienation is not another name for pedophilia. Parental alienation is also not a legal strategy designed to allow an abusive parent to continue beating up on the kids. Finally, parental alienation is not the latest get-rich-quick-scheme from consultants and authors who are often accused of trying make money off the backs of people who are at their most financially vulnerable. 

Parental alienation is the unhealthy byproduct of one parent’s fear of abandonment. These fears often date back to childhood. When a parent with these fears faces divorce or separation they need a child to take over for the exiting spouse or partner and keep those abandonment fears away. The parent pulls the child into the adult conflict and makes his or her fears the child’s fears. It doesn’t take long for a child, looking for security in a world where his or her parents are no longer working together to take care of the child’s needs, to form a very unhealthy, co-dependent relationship with the alienating parent. There is little room for the previously-loved other parent in the child’s new world. 

At its core, parental alienation is about the alienating parent and child’s fears, and the child’s loyalty to the alienating parent. That reminds me, Loyalty Day is also May 1st.

A Family’s Heartbreak message to the DSM Review Board

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

The American Counseling Association (ACA) recently asked its members for comments on the proposed DSM-5. The ACA collected member comments and presented a consolidated document to the DSM-5 Review Board to consider before the Board moved forward with revisions to the next edition of the DSM.

A Family’s Heartbreak, LLC includes an ACA member so we had the opportunity to submit a statement arguing for the inclusion of parental alienation in the DSM-5. Here is an edited version of our submission:

“It is both critical and appropriate for parental alienation to be included in the next edition of the DSM as an adjustment disorder.

The DSM is full of adjustment disorders. We consider a parent, dealing with the stress, emotions and long-term uncertainty of divorce or separation, as having an adjustment issue if the parent takes the emotionally damaging and unhealthy steps of not only allowing a child into the adult conflict but making the child responsible for his or her emotional well-being at the expense of the other parent, and the child’s long-term, normal, emotional growth and development. In addition, it is illogical that the DSM already includes descriptions of unhealthy attachment disorders, but has so far omitted the proverbial flip side of the same coin. If an unhealthy attachment to a parent constitutes a valid diagnosis in the DSM, how can an unhealthy aversion to a parent also not be considered worthy of inclusion in the mental health profession’s definitive guide?

The reasons for omitting parental alienation from the DSM should not be political. Parental alienation is not a legal issue, and therefore the DSM Review Board should turn a deaf ear to parental alienation critics and special interest groups who include parental alienation into broader shared parenting, child support or domestic violence agendas. Parental alienation is a mental health issue — plain and simple. Countless parents, children and extended family members will continue to suffer the long-term mental and emotional consequences of parental alienation until professionals are able to diagnose alienation and help others address its harmful effects.”

Justice Jeffries style

Monday, March 15th, 2010

Mike Jeffries, author of A Family’s Heartbreak: A Parent’s Introduction to Parental Alienation, will be a guest on the internet talk show America’s Injustice, Tuesday night, March 16 at 8:00 p.m. EST.

The program will focus on parental alienation and the progress parents, legal and mental health professionals have made raising awareness of this destructive family dynamic in the public’s consciousness. The DSM Review Board is currently considering a proposal to put parental alienation in the next edition of the Diagnositc and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders — making this week’s America’s Injustice program particularly relevant.

Listeners can access the program at www.talkshoe.com or call in at 724-444-7444, program ID 52056.

Calling all Counselors

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010

The American Counseling Association (ACA) recently asked its members to provide feedback on a draft of the DSM-V– which the ACA will consolidate and forward to the DSM-V Task Force. As many of you know, the DSM is the mental health profession’s bible — the final authority on symptoms and syndromes and the definitive diagnosis on legitimate mental health conditions. The newest edition of the DSM will be released in 2013.

More than 60 international experts — academics, authors and mental health professionals — recently submitted a proposal to include parental alienation in the DSM-V. Many groups and individuals are working diligently to make the DSM Task Force aware of the huge number of parents and children currently struggling with the emotional heartbreak of parental alienation. It is also vitally important that all ACA members lobby their organization to include parental alienation in the next edition of the DSM.

Including any new diagnosis in the DSM is a long, complex, and some say, political, process. However including parental alienation in the DSM as an Adjustment Disorder should not be difficult. While special interest groups with their own agendas are fighting to keep parental alienation out of the DSM, mental health professionals see Adjustment Disorders related to depression and anxiety all the time. Why is it so hard to believe that a parent with unresolved emotional issues, going through the strain and emotional upheaval of a divorce or separation (the adjustment issue), could put his or her unhealthy emotional needs above the needs of his or her child? Further, why is it so hard to believe that these unhealthy needs might somehow damage, and in some cases destroy, the child’s relationship with the child’s other parent? And finally, why is it so hard to believe that the targeted parent might actually object to these events and turn to mental health professionals to help address an issue that has its roots in mental and emotional health?  

The deadline for ACA members to provide feedback is March 22, 2010. The member’s ACA ID number is required with the submission. ID numbers can be found on the back of the Journal of Counseling and Development, or on the ACA website after logging in or contacting member services. To contribute, go to http://www.counseling.org/dsm/comments.html.

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