parental alienation

Parental Alienation: Part 2

Hi there,

Parental alienation in the divorce process may be an unavoidable fact of life.  Bad situations can make good people behave in destructive ways, and, of course, not everyone pursuing divorce is a good person.

As I started to discuss in my last post, there seems to me to be a dramatic increase in the number of divorce cases I see with parental alienation involving children age 10 to 18 (and older). In these situations with this particular age group there seems to be a changed dynamic: Dad is most often the parent with whom the alienated children are allied. With younger children the literature seems to say it is primarily mom with whom the kids ally.

Also in most of the cases I have seen (and there have been too many) there is often more than one child involved. The children also tend to be encouraging each other in the alienating behavior, with the older children pushing the younger into it.

In every case of older children alienation that I have handled, there has been an overlay of either physical violence or severe emotional abuse. In the cases of emotional abuse the denigration of mom by … Keep reading

More Kid Stuff

Hi there,

It is great to be back in the real world outside of the courtroom.  Trials are fun, but life goes on and the emails and phone calls pile up.  My thanks to my colleague Andrea for her piece on parental alienation while I was otherwise occupied.

I truly am disturbed by parental alienation cases.  Sometimes it is hard to distinguish between a high conflict case and one in which the children are really being alienated.  In a high conflict case, both parents may be indulging in a tug of war with the kids in the middle.  In a case of parental alienation, one parent makes a (conscious?) decision to completely make it impossible for the other parent to have any kind of a good relationship with the kid(s). 

As a practical matter, I am not sure that it really matters which is going on.  The kids get just as damaged, I think.  The psychiatric community has decided they will not be including parental alienation as a diagnosis in the DSM-V.  I think that makes sense.  I view parental alienation not as an illness, but a behavioral choice.

As a practitioner I am seeing more cases where … Keep reading