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Is Parental Alienation A Real Problem? - By Chris Gearing

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Parental Alienation I:

Is Parental Alienation a Real Problem?

The term parental alienation first came into the public conversation during the bitter custody struggle between actors Kim Bassinger and Alec Baldwin. This widespread phenomenon has done tremendous harm to America’s families. Now psychologists are wrestling with whether parental alienation is a classifiable mental health syndrome.

So what is parental alienation and why is it becoming such a problem for American children?

Systematic Campaign of Alienation: Parental alienation is a systematic campaign of character assassination. It is not gender related or age related. One parent is determined to permanently alienate the child’s affections toward the other parent.

Spans the Range: Parental Alienation spans the range from careless, self serving comments that undermine the child’s view of the other parent to outright malicious intent, legal battles and reckless actions.

Emotional Abuse of Children: Parental alienation is a form of emotional abuse of the child. As one expert said “ Bad mouth your ex and you simultaneously bad mouth your child.”

So why do parents set out the ruin the relationship of their ex with the child?

Revenge: Getting back and getting even is the number one reason parents assault their ex’s. Rebuffed or disappointed spouses get enormous secondary gain from inflicting pain on a spouse they believe has wronged them.

Child is Perceived as a Possession: For some parents, adequate boundaries with their children are absent. They child is an extension of themselves. The mind of the child becomes the battlefield for revenge. The parent attempts to banish the other parent so he can have the child to himself.

Compensating for Inadequacy and Guilt: Parents try to resolve the rejection or their sense of failure by convincing themselves that they are the best parent. Posturing as the superior parent makes them feel better even if it’s at the expense of their child. They have no conscience about the suffering of the child and the other parent.

Sources:

"Divorce Poison," Dr. Richard Warshak

"The Custody Revolution" by Dr. Richard Warshak

"Divorce Casualties: Understanding Parental Alienation," Dr. Douglas Darnall


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