DEAR READERS: The ugly parental alienation issue blew up at Christmastime with many hurting and angry readers writing in. The spark was a letter from a separated man, Dad at the End of His Rope, whose heart was breaking because his ex had bad-mouthed him to his children (all over the age of 18) to the point they won’t talk to him anymore. During the marriage, he made big money working out of town. He was away three weeks a month and home one week. During his time at home heand his wife would fight often. He supported his wife and three kids then, and still does. He feels the kids have been taught to hate him and yet he pays and pays. He says he’s just the “bank machine.” Here are some of the responses from other readers.
DEAR MISS LONELYHEART: Hopefully these children of his will come around, and maybe parental alienation will no longer be the dark side to this situation. This wife is a catalyst and needs therapy, and he should stop making all payments where lawfully possible. It’s so sad the children can only hear when money speaks. Parental alienation is about a parent and child’s love, not a bank account.
I too have first-hand experience. Many years ago I went through a terrible divorce and convinced my children their father was a horrible person and they went years not communicating with him because of me. A couple years ago, he suddenly passed away, and now I’m left with broken children who are in counselling, full of regrets and blaming me.
I know of many other nasty divorces in which children have being manipulated and convinced into taking sides. I know a 10-year-old, a 20-year-old and even someone in their 30s who is in this situation. Too many parents like myself become selfish and want everyone, including their children, to hate their ex. That benefits no one, especially the children. Parents need to keep the kids out of all the details pertaining to a divorce and stop bad-mouthing their exes. This just screws up their children’s heads and doesn’t enable them to have healthy relationships in the future. You can’t erase regrets.
— Many Regrets, Winnipeg