Last week, Dr. Jennifer Harman was the guest of Dr. Terri Orbuch, Professor of Sociology at Oakland University and The Love Doctor. Dr Orbuch has been helping improve relationships for 30 years and hosts an audio blog.
The episode featuring Dr. Harman is available as a podcast and we highly encourage all of you to have a listen.
As could be expected, the body of the interview explored parental alienation. First, through the lens of Dr. Harman’s book Parents Acting Badly, then through her ongoing research. The two experts reaffirmed that despite the prevalence of parental alienation, “many people do not know what it is, deny its existence or act as by-standers,” and still too often blame the victim. The two experts encouraged everybody to be vigilant and try not to jump to conclusions when observing a parent or a child express disdain or negative behavior towards the other parent. While the situation may be one of estrangement, it may not be, and the child may merely be a pawn in a parental alienation scheme. And there was little room for doubt that parental alienation is always avoidable. Dr. Harman assured listeners that relationships between children and parents can be structured around legitimate concerns, such as safety, without severing the bond or making the child feel like their parent is “no-good.”
It was the opening and closing of the interview that particularly stood out to us because the two women spoke personally, intimately and genuinely about Dr. Harman as a change agent, a mother and as a patient, methodical intellectual. We heard how Dr. Harman’s work evolved into its current focus on parental alienation, heard the actual magnitude of change she envisions, as well as discovered who she would invite to dinner to discuss how she would achieve it.
Overall, the podcast felt inspirational and The Love Doctor specifically called on alienated parents to know that they are not alone, to not give up the fight, and to not get angry with their children, who are but a tool in the other parent’s aggression. And of course, Simply Parent got a plug as a place of respite, a source of support and a vehicle for change. Listen to the podcast here.