John Grosz, President
Ryan Brech, Vice President
Steve Mathis, Treasurer
Brian Martin, Secretary
Open, West River Rep.
Information On Parental Alienation used to write Editorial on Parent Alienation by Steve Mathis - the non-edited version.
Last week, Ann Landers made it clear “When divorced parents get along, their children fare much better”. She responded to an Aunt in New Jersey who conveyed that all divorced parents must stop saying nasty things about their ex-spouses to their children and that parents need to find the decency and strength to do what is right for children, so they can have a good relationship with BOTH parents.
What this article is describing is an emerging problem of parental alienation or the creation of a singular relationship between a child and one parent, to the exclusion of the other parent. Continuing parental alienation may result in the eventual parentectomy of one parent (in 90%, typically the father) following divorce. Dr. Frank Williams, a child psychiatrist states, “A parentectomy is the most cruel infringement upon children's rights to be carried out against human children by human adults and are psychologically lethal to children and parents”. Many believe that parental alienation is considered serious child abuse.
Why: Hurt, bitterness, anger, guild, regain self-esteem, sexist attitudes, feelings of entitlement, protective feelings for children, winning
Types of behaviors of parents: visitation interference, discouragement of frequent and meaningful contact with the other parent, derogatory remarks, complaining about amount of child support, overly rigid with parenting schedule, refusal to provide copies of reports, refusal to provide information on child's school/community activities, neutrality regarding visitation, false sex abuse accusations, paranoid behaviors, passage of time worsens alienation, unconcern regarding extended family, uncontrolled anger, defensiveness, sarcastic comments, direct criticisms, implied criticisms, spreading vicious lies about the ex, reluctance for independent evaluation of child, interrupting telephone contact between child and father, inability to have empathy or compassion for others, psychological “allergic” reaction to the presence of the other parent, refusal to hear anything about the other parent, delight in hearing negative news about the other parent, refusal to speak directly with the other parent, refusal to allow the target parent physically near, destruction of memorabilia of the target person, threats of withdrawal of love, extreme lack of courtesy to the target parent, conveying child as an independent thinker regarding whether to visit or not, asking the children to choose you over the other parent, having special signals, secrets, words with unique meaning, You ask the children about your ex-spouse's personal life, rationalizing their insistence that their way is better by proclaiming that “children need consistency”. The key for the alienating parent is to strive to strengthen the child's psychological dependency on him/herself while sacrificing the children's relationship with the other parent.
Child behaviors: ambivalence toward targeted parent, refusal to talk to or visit parent, withdrawal, speaks indirectly, avoids taking clothes or toys home from lost parent, chameleon-like, secrets, lack of gratitude for gifts or favors, expressions and phrases parroted by non-target parent, consistently supporting loved parent, mental illness, maladaptive behavior, loss of good memories, lack of display of affection in front of loved parent, finds nothing of like for father and nothing disliked about mother, child checks with mother if it all right to be affectionate to other parent, depression reaching suicidal proportions, lack of self-esteem.
Third parties, mental health clinic which supports that the child needs the stability, constancy and consistency of one home and that it is emotionally harmful for the children to be shuttled back and forth between homes - that there must be one primary psychological caretaker. Legal system, Grandparents, Attorneys, Judges, Social Services, Extended family, friends
Research has repeatedly shown that children who are actively involved with both parents without conflict make the best initial and long-term adjustment to divorce
Factors that identify families where alienation is less likely are: abundant positive contact between both parents; good relationship of the children with family and friends of both parents; free communication to the child by others of the good qualities of both parents; lack of defensiveness on the part of each parent as to the emotions, statements and criticisms of the other; ability of each parent to discuss schedules and parenting concerns with the other parent; ability of each parent to accommodate the schedules and desires of the other,
As per “Guru” of parental alienation Richard Gardner, “when there are two highly bonded loving parents, a rigid structured schedule of 50-50 shared residential overnights for each parent may be appropriate to best serve the children, irregardless of the parents level of cooperation”.