Parental Alienation from a Teen's Perspective

Written by Family Workshop Teen Graduate


What does that word make you think of?

For some, unknown green creatures come to mind. Others think of the mysterious Area 51, or the kind gentle alien representation, E.T. Some have a negative affiliation with the word, recalling a time a family member, friend, or themselves was referenced by the term.


Building from our previous meaning for the word alien, what would you think “alienating” means to a little kid?

When I was 10, these terms were synonymous. So, when my dad screamed the word  in my face, I was confused. I couldn’t believe I was being called an alien. I had never watched “E.T.”, I knew I didn’t come from Area 51, and I was positive I wasn’t green. Nevertheless, that comment made me feel like a lesser human. When I questioned him, asking what he meant by that, his reply was, “Your mom is alienating you from me. In fact, you’re alienating yourself.” 

I was told that my mom was trying to make me into an alien, and I was too.

As April is National Parental Alienation Month, it’s important, especially now, to take time to understand what the word truly means, how it impacts your children and why avoiding the word is critical. 

Based on the Oxford dictionary, alienation is a noun meaning, “the state or experience of being isolated from a group or an activity to which one should belong or in which one should be involved.” 

After therapy and years of help, I realized the repercussions of what my dad had said, and most of all how untrue the statement was. 

From a child of a divorced family that was confused by a parent using the word “alienating”, here’s my perspective. Alienating should not be weaponized; It should not be used to hurt your loved ones. As a child of divorce, oftentimes I would fall in the middle of an argument, or be the center of it. Being in the middle of one more problem, only pushed me further into confusion and isolation. 

To all the parents reading this blog, I encourage you – 

Be the change for your family or your child by building instead of breaking.

Kids’ Turn San Diego helped my family learn, and helped me heal. 

Start making good habits by breaking bad ones, and be the growth for your family.  

Be the Change for Your Family

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