Updated: Nov 21, 2021
What Is Parental Alienation? Is it a syndrome?
Annie Allen, Certified Divorce and Life Transition Coach®
The term Parental alienation syndrome is a term introduced by child psychiatrist Richard Gardner in 1985 to describe what he believed to be a distinctive suite of behaviors in children that includes showing extreme but unwarranted fear, disrespect or hostility towards a parent.
Sadly, there are reputable and many organizations online that are citing PAS as when “one parent attempts to turn the couple’s children against the other parent. A parent who is angry at the spouse or ex-spouse accomplishes estrangement by painting a negative picture of the other parent via deprecating comments, blame, and false accusations shared with the children.”
Add to this confusion that my recent conversation on a former episode with Domestic Violence Divorce Court Judge Kate Lynch brought to light her assessment that PAS has been debunked! Now, hear me out here….
In context to the conversation with Judge Lynch, and now after seeing all this conflicting information online, what I have come to believe is that that these “bad dads” and “bad moms” who are alienating their kids from their other parent DO NOT HAVE A MEDICAL “SYNDROME” they can use as a scapegoat for their behavior. It’s just bad behavior. Lack of character and morality. It is ABUSE. Plain and simple. Nothing else to blame but the perpetrator of it.
The SYNDROME though, that I think makes sense when I do the research, is what the CHILD experiences as a result of the abuser’s behavior.
In general, the alienating parent is the least emotionally healthy of the two and often the wealthier, as well, therefore better able to afford legal challenges and using the court system to continue their abuse, with way too many unscrupulous attorneys all too willing to help them do just that.
Tune In Now
Tune in to the Starting Over Stronger Divorce Survival & Recovery Podcast to hear Regina’s compelling story of loss and hope as she was alienated from her children during and since her divorce. Click the Listen Now button above or find the show on your favorite podcast app.
Then, stay tuned for Part 2 coming on August 25, 2021 where we will discuss what to look for and what we can do to help by understanding What the Other Party (Offending Party) does to alienate, what the children are likely doing, what the victim can and needs to be doing to present their case well in court and the overall effect of parental alienation on the entire family.
In the Meantime, Here’s What to Do if You are Being Alienated
On the show, I share a tip for what to do every birthday, Christmas, and special day while you are not allowed to see or speak to your child(ren). This tip I call “Hope Gifts” will be a VISUAL and UNDENIABLE way you can demonstrate to your children that you never stop thinking of them and wanting them. It may be one of the, if not THE MOST, healing thing you can do. Don’t miss it. Tune in now.
For Now, Grieve, Cry and Reach Out
Grieve what should have been.
Cry. Tears are healing.
Get the support you need. You need not do this alone.
AND THEN turn the energy of your grief into ACTION to understand on every possible level what exactly is happening around you, to you, to your children, keep a note of minute details, and seek help and support from parental alienation experts.
Your child’s future and your relationship with them IS STILL IN YOUR HANDS. It is easy to think that isn’t so. You must fight for them and do every single thing in your power to create the possibility for change in the future. Never let your pain and grief allow you to forget, the OP is ABUSING your children. You are trying to RESCUE them. Reach out and I will get you connected with resources.
Thank you again for tuning in every Wednesday for more Starting Over Stronger. It is my pleasure to bring you these incredible stories and interviews with professionals to empower and encourage you on your divorce journey.
You can do this.