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The Effect of Parental Alienation On Children - By Chris Gearing

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Parental Alienation II:

The Effect of Parental Alienation on Children

Parental alienation—the relentless campaign of one estranged parent to destroy their child’ relationship with the other parent—is on the rise. It spans the range from careless hostile remarks to premeditated and systematic attempts to assassinate the character of the targeted parent.

If you are concerned if your child is a victim of parental alienation, be on the lookout for the following behaviors:

Brainwashed by Lies: These kids are basically brainwashed and now regard their targeted parent as the enemy or as a worthless afterthought. This kind of betrayal can occur even in the most tender and loving relationships. Tragically, I have seen such division lasting for years.

Contempt, Rejection and Disrespect: The child shows contempt, rejection, and disrespect for the targeted parent. These comments are often irrational, insulting and traumatizing to the parent who feels helpless and hopeless.

Rehearsed Answers: The child has been taught to orient to the controlling needs of the alienating parent at all costs. He is often unable to specify why he dislikes the targeted parent. In fact, he may exaggerate the faults of the parent to justify his rejection. His comments parrot the alienator’s words and feelings.

Long Term Damage: There is minimal data on the long-term effects of such alienation on kids. However, we do know that the earlier the separation from a parent, the more traumatic it is for the child. The basic tenants of loving relationships—trust, loyalty, and forgiveness are never learned and the child may struggle for a lifetime because of these experiences.

There are several steps you can take to preserve your relationship with your child:

Educate Yourself: Parental alienation can be an elusive phenomenon to prove especially in a highly intense forum such as child custody. There are several books with great resources that are “must reads” for parents (Please see the sources for this post).

Remain Calm: Understand that you have been systematically undermined and that you are taking every step to remediate the situation. Focus on what you can control and don’t stress about other factors. Do not lose your temper, reject your child or insult your ex in front of your child.

Work with Great Experts: Hire a psychologist and a lawyer who are proven experts in parental alienation. The therapist must acknowledge the massive psychological impact such alienation has on the child and targeted parent. Your attorney needs to possess a solid understanding of this type of emotional abuse and the substantial legal skills to protect your child and your interests.

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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