Kofi Annan the former Secretary General of the United Nations told the world
“There is no trust more sacred than the one the world holds with children. There is no duty more important than ensuring that their rights are respected, that their welfare is protected, that their lives are free from fear and want and that they can grow up in peace.”
Remember that if need urgent help of protection you can always call An Garda on 112 or 999.
Always remember that you are not alone, there is always someone out there that can help you, all they need is to hear your voice. Your voice and feelings are important and powerful. There are more links at the end of this page that may be able to help you.
This page is intended for children and young adults, who find themselves in the very difficult situation of parents separating and who feel torn between your parents. It is natural that you love your Mom and Dad and that you would love to be able to spend time with both of them.
It is also clear that you do not want to hurt any of their feelings. Unfortunately, sometimes parents argue, separate and stay in a conflict for long periods of time. Sadly, because they are hurting or worried, they sometimes forget or do not see that you are hurting too.
They might say bad things about your other parent to you or even make you believe that your mom or dad doesn’t care about you any more, even though this is not true.
If you feel this way and have been looking for information and help we hope the page and website can help you find information that you need.
Children are the main victims of parental alienation. This happens when you start believing that your mom or dad doesn’t want to see you or is all bad. This is even though you had a loving relationship before to your parents’ separation. You may also miss grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles or even brothers or sisters.
You might feel that you do not want to have anything to do with them any longer or maybe even want to hurt their feelings.
Children should not be used as weapons in a conflict between parents. But very sadly it happens.
If you are a child feeling being used in a conflict between parents then the first things to know are
There are people out there to help and support you
It is not your fault
None of your parents or extended families has stopped loving you
You are not alone
There are people out there to support you
We are very sorry that you have found yourself in such a conflict. Alienated Children First do appreciate that sadly there are many children and young adults in Ireland in this position. While we are working with professional people and the government to improve the situation we do not have any funding, resources, or qualifications to help you directly.
The information below to inform you in seeking help.
There are people and organisations out there to help children and young adults who are in the difficult position of being used in parental alienation. These people are qualified and have resources to help you. Sometimes the people on their helplines are not familiar with the term “parental alienation”. In that case simply use the word alienation and describe how you have been feeling lately and the events that have been happening and how they affect you.
You can also use the information on this page and feel free to mention Alienated Children First when talking to them.
Childline – https://www.childline.ie free phone – 1800666666; free text – 50101
Ombudsman for Children https://www.oco.ie/ phone 018656800
One Family – https://onefamily.ie/information-service-helpline/ phone 01 662 9212
Children’s Rights Alliance – https://www.childrensrights.ie/contact-us phone 01 902 0494
Tusla (Child and Family Agency) – https://www.tusla.ie/children-first/report-a-concern/ phone 017718500
Remember that if you are in urgent need of protection you can always call An Garda on 112 or 999.
Also think about Your favourite school teacher , guidance counsellor, sports coach or activities leader ?
Who can you speak to in confidence and with ease. Schools often have trained counsellors who you can speak to in complete confidence, and they will be happy to help you and you can ask to see them more than once.
Everything you tell them will be held in complete confidence and is private between you and them and they will not repeat anything back to anyone, including your parents unless you give your permission and consent.
Your Rights as a Child
You can read about all your rights here:
Your human rights as a child are protected at the highest level. The Constitution of Ireland has an article dedicated to the rights of children – Article 42A – Children and you can read it here http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/eli/cons/en/html#article42A. and https://www.earlychildhoodireland.ie/best-interests-of-the-child/
You have the same human rights as any other person and your best interests as a child are the most important consideration. Nobody can take those rights away from you – not even the law or the government . That is the meaning of “The State recognises and affirms the natural and imprescriptible rights of all children”.
Article 42A also states that also that your own views shall be given “due weight and taken into consideration”. So what you want and your own feelings are important and people should listen to you.
Ireland has committed to protecting children’s rights by signing up to the “United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child” (UNCRC). This means that your rights are most important to the Irish Government and key decision makers. They have to protect and respect that you also have many rights under the UN Convention.
You can see a helpful guide to your rights under the UNCRC here “Know your Rights under the UNCRC”
The UNCRC covers a wide range of topics including your right to family life and contact with both of your parents and other family members like brothers and sisters, cousins, grandparents, aunts and uncles.
In Ireland Rights to Family Life also come under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights. This includes the rights of children which are looked after in the European Court of Human Rights.
The European Court of Human Rights tells our government and courts that countries including Ireland cannot ignore children suffering abuse such as of parental alienation.
It tells Ireland that we as a country and our government have “positive obligations” to do the things necessary to protect children in such situations. This means that they cannot just wait for children to look for protection, that the government and Irish organisations like schools, social workers, Gardai, doctors, lawyers, etc. must do things to protect children from abuse, including listening to you.
This is explained by the European Court of Human Rights in particular cases which can be phrased in complex legal language. But you can read such a case from 2021 here CASE OF I.S. AND OTHERS v. MALTA (European Court of Human Rights) Application no. 9410/20. You can read a blog writer on another case here K.B. and Others v. Croatia: the Court’s first steps to tackle parental alienation which may be a little easier to read than the full court ruling in the Malta case.
No child or young adult should have to suffer by being used in a conflict between parents. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to know what to do when this happens to you. We may not be able to fix everything for you, but we hope that we have helped you to know your human rights, that all people must respect you and that we have helped you to find some of the people you can turn to in difficult times.