The only effective means to combat and eliminate parental alienation is to address it by means of a multi-faceted approach that involves fundamental changes to the present system of divorce, and alienated parents and their allies would be well-advised to channel their energies in this direction. This article is a call to action, involving four essential steps to address the problem of parental alienation. All other efforts will produce only superficial or short-term results.
Step 1: Professional recognition of parental alienation as a serious form of child abuse, and corresponding intervention of child protection authorities
Parental alienation is a form of individual child abuse, the result of actions by an individual caregiver that represent a significant form of harm to children. Parental alienation as a serious form of emotional child abuse, which is linked to child neglect and to physical and sexual abuse, clearly makes it, above all else, a child protection concern. First and foremost, we need to recognize parental alienation as a form of individual child abuse that requires a child protection response, no different than physical and sexual abuse. This may involve child removal from the abusive parent or, in most cases, family support services aimed at educating the parent about the effects and unacceptability of alienation and effecting a reunification process between the child and the targeted parent.