(Click here  for more coverage on parental alienation.)
Psychologists Dr. Amy J. L. Baker  and Dr. Katherine Andre  have written a new book entitled “I Don’t Want to Choose: How Middle School Kids Can Avoid Choosing One Parent Over the Other”. This work is targeted for an audience of middle school children who want to keep both parents involved in their lives. It teaches children to use their critical thinking skills to avoid being duped or pressured into picking one parent over another.
What is Parental Alienation?
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. They may also brainwash their children into repeating distortions, exaggerations, or outright fabrications to falsely accuse the target parent of child abuse.
Parental Alienation Causes Lifelong Damage
Dr. Baker is a nationally recognized expert on parental alienation, children of divorce, and emotional abuse of children. She has previously written Adult Children of Parental Alienation Syndrome: Breaking the Ties That Bind  covering the long-term impact of parental alienation upon children into adulthood. The book presents 40 case studies based upon interviews of adult children who were subjected to parental alienation and “recovered” from it enough to realize they were alienated.
In the 40 case studies discussed, all but 6 of the alienating parents were mothers. Her research suggests that alienation is committed by both mothers and by fathers. Contrary to sexist parent advocacy groups (those involving irresponsible parents who insist that all mothers commit parental alienation or that all fathers abuse children), parental alienation is a real problem that involves parents of both genders as the abusers.
Click here  for Amazon.com reviews of Adult Children of Parental Alienation Syndrome: Breaking the Ties That Bind . Click here  for other brief professional reviews of the book.
Alienated children frequently are psychologically damaged in long-term ways. They often develop depression, substance abuse problems, eating disorders, and even manipulative behavior patterns similar to their alienating parents. Some compare growing up with an alienating parent as being kidnapped and brainwashed. Of her 40 research subjects covered in Adult Children of Parental Alienation Syndrome: Breaking the Ties That Bind , some notable statistics are:
- 70% suffered from depression
- 58% were divorced
- Half of the 28 who had children are estranged from their own children
- 35% developed problems with drugs and alcohol
Without a doubt, parental alienation is child abuse.
Click here  for a table of contents for Adult Children of Parental Alienation Syndrome: Breaking the Ties That Bind .
Table of Contents of “I Don’t Want to Choose!”
The table of contents of “I Don’t Want to Choose: How Middle School Kids Can Avoid Choosing One Parent Over the Other” is listed below:
- Caring Adults
Finding Your Solution:
- Think for yourself
- Consider your options
- Listen to your heart
- Use your coping skills
Situations & Solutions:
- One parent looks sad, angry, or hurt when you leave to be with the other parent
- One parent asks you to spy on the other parent
- One of your parents says mean and untrue things about the other parent
- One parent allows you to choose whether to spend time with the other parent
- One of your parents doesn’t want you to have pictures of your other parent
- One parent refers to the other parent by first name rather than saying “Mom” or “Dad”
- One of your parents suggests to you that you move in with him or her
- One of your parents ignores or puts down the rules and authority of your other parent
- One of your parents tells you that the other parent is dangerous
- A parent calls your stepparent “Mom” or “Dad,” and suggests that you do the same
- One of your parents tells you that the other parent doesn’t love you anymore
- One parent interferes with your communication with the other parent
- One parent asks you to keep secrets from the other parent
- One parent doesn’t include the other parent’s contact information on your school and athletic information forms
- One parent gets annoyed or angry if you pay attention to the other parent
- One parent changes your name to exclude the other parent
- One parent tells you private and personal things about the other parent
Working on your own situations and solutions
Dr. Baker has also written an 80+ page workbook of exercises and activities to accompany the “I Don’t Want to Choose!”. These are intended to help the children apply their learning to their own lives.
The list of 17 common alienation situations is fairly comprehensive. However, we’d like to see the authors add a few more to help kids whose alienating parent is subjecting both them and their target parent to false abuse allegations. For example, these would be useful additional situations for discussion:
- One parent lies or refuses to share information about your medical care with your other parent
- One parent tells or forces you to lie to portray your other parent as abusive
- One parent tells your friends that your other parent is abusive and dangerous
Both Dr. Baker’s kid-focused titles and some of her other books and e-books on parental alienation can be ordered via her website at www.amyjlbaker.com  .
“I Don’t Want to Choose!” can also be ordered via via Dr. Andre’s website by clicking here .