Parental Alienation

July 31st, 2010

Parental alienation involves the systematic and frequently repeated denigration of one parent by the other and blocking of access to the parent who is the target of denigration. This is not just a simple and occasional comment such as “mommy can be so annoying sometimes” or “it is frustrating that daddy doesn’t keep his schedule”. While those comments are inappropriate in front of children as they tend to make children anxious and feel like they might have to take sides, infrequent comments like these probably do not constitute parental alienation.

In addition to making frequent denigrating remarks about the other parent in front of the children, alienating parents often also push their children to join in the alienation. They also often interfere in custody exchanges and visitations, frequently in violation of court orders, because they do not want the children to spend time with the other parent.

Parental alienation is a form of emotional, verbal, and psychological abuse against children. Alienating parents are child abusers.

The term “Parental Alienation Syndome” (PAS) refers to a hotly-debated psychological condition that happens to children as a result of being exposed to parental alienation. In such cases, the affected children will join in making denigrating comments about the target parent, refuse to spend time with the target parent, display irrational hostility towards the target parent and even attempt to directly harm the target parent and his or her property. Whether PAS is a real syndrome or not is for some reason a vigorously debated question.

The debate about “Parental Alienation Syndrome” being real seems to stem mostly from parties who refuse to accept that women and mothers are also prone to child abuse and will intentionally use false accusations against men and fathers. It is not uncommon for alienating parents to falsely accuse the target parent of child abuse. They use this as a tactic to gain more allies to rally against the target parent and to block access of the target parent to the children. This thinking process may be due to parents, often females, feeling threatened by the increasing practice of split custody of children between parents and refusal to accept such split custody.

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Alienating parents will often attempt to gain or retain 100% custody by vilifying the target parent. The excuse often used for this is that the target parent is a child abuser. In many cases, perhaps even most, this assertion is false. Even if they are not entirely false, they may be so disproportionate that they are distortions that do not represent reality. For instance, many parents will yell or grab at a child for misbehaving in a dangerous or aggressive fashion, particularly if the behavior is putting themselves and others in harms way. An alienating parent may take such appropriate yelling or grabbing and twist them into claims the target parent is beating the children and is a child abuser. In many ways, this is very much like the “distortion campaign” practiced by many victims of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). So it should come as no surprise that parents who suffer from BPD are also prone to demonstrate parental alienation behaviors.

Although not all alienating parents are mentally ill, there seems to be a common pattern of parental alienation practiced by many parents who suffer from personality disorders, especially the DSM-IV Axis II Cluster B personality disorders. There are many educated assessments and studies that indicate a significant connection between child abuse and how abused children develop mental illnesses which may continue on into adulthood and result in the abused children becoming child abusers themselves.

The bottom line is that if you are alienating your children against their other parent, you are psychologically and emotionally abusing your children. You must stop your alienating activities and learn to show your children that they can love their other parent and you will support this. This doesn’t require you to love your ex, but it does require you to not spout hatred against your ex in front of your children. Further, making positive comments about your ex in front of the children goes a long way towards avoiding parental alienation, even if you occasionally slip and make a denigrating comment.

Our Recent Parental Alienation Articles

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Parental Alienation Articles from Other Web Sites

Judge rules father brainwashed son into hating mother

Monika Logan: Social Worker Discusses Parental Alienation On Get Your Justice Live

The Lohstroh Case: Articles published from August 27 to November 2004

Lohstroh, Dr. Rick: Murdered by his PAS 10 Year old Son

Parents Who Have Successfully Fought Parental Alienation Syndrome

Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS): Its Causes, Cures, Costs, and Controversies

The Macabre Dance of Family Law Court, Abnormal Psychology, and Parental Alienation Syndrome – Summary

Wikipedia: Parental Alienation

Parental Alienation & Parental Alienation Syndrome

Parents Against Parental Alienation (support group in Massachusetts)

Consulting Services:

Dr. J. Michael Bone

Building Awareness of Parental Alienation

If you’d like to let others know about parental alienation, here are some shirts and mugs that could help do the job.

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