Pelham brings awareness to parental alienation

Kenneth Paschal, director of governmental affairs for ALFRA, has worked to bring awareness for parental alienation to Pelham. (Contributed)

Kenneth Paschal, director of governmental affairs for ALFRA, has worked to bring awareness for parental alienation to Pelham. (Contributed)

By MOLLY DAVIDSON / Staff Writer

PELHAM—As part of nationally recognized Child Abuse Awareness Month, Pelham Mayor Gary Waters proclaimed April 20 through 26 as Parental Alienation Prevention Week and April 25 as Parental Alienation Awareness Day during an April 7 City Council meeting.

According to the Alabama Family Rights Association, parental alienation “deprives children of their right to be freely loved and showing their love for both of their parents,” and can destroy relationships with parents and extended family.

“Parental Alienation Prevention Week is intended to increase the knowledge and understanding of this problem and to help Alabamians, institutions and the legal and mental health community leaders to better identify and combat such abusive behavior to children,” Kenneth Paschal, director of governmental affairs for ALFRA, said in an April 18 email.

Throughout the week, various groups across Pelham will work to raise awareness of the dangers of parental alienation.

“Valley Elementary School’s counselor is doing a two week program,” Paschal said, a “very powerful” way to bring awareness to children.

Pelham businesses will also host events aimed to “strike up a conversation” and raise awareness of parental alienation and the damage it causes, not just to children, but to entire families, Paschal said.

“A lot of people know this is wrong, but it has become accepted,” Paschal said.

Starting on April 20 and continuing through the week, Johnny Ray’s in Pelham will hold a Tree of Love campaign, inviting people to hang blue and pink paper hearts with the names of alienated family members on a tree.

On April 21, Pelham’s Texas Roadhouse will host a Kid’s Night featuring bubble blowing and Andy Armadillo.

Finally, in recognition of Parental Alienation Awareness Day on April 25, Mayor Waters has asked Pelham residents to “blow bubbles for love” at noon.

Bubbles will also be blown at Valley Elementary School at 8 a.m., Kai’s Koffee House at 11 a.m., the Huntley Apartments clubhouse at 12 p.m., Johnny Ray’s at 3 p.m., and the Pelham YMCA at 4 p.m.

“The goal is awareness,” Paschal said of the week’s events. “Change requires awareness first.”