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Parental Alienation

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... Parents in stressful child custody litigation frequently engage in parental alienation in which they repeatedly denigrate their partner in order to reduce or eliminate their children's identification with and attachment to their partner (Lorandos, 2014;Fidler & Bala, 2010). Parental alienation may be achieved by brainwashing and indoctrinating their children into believing negative qualities about one of their parents. ...
Article
This chapter analyzes the impact of child custody arrangements, impaired family functioning, parental distress, family structure, individual vulnerability factors, degree of resilience in coping, school characteristics, and community factors on children’s educational, behavioral, and social outcomes. This approach emphasizes an ecological model to clarify the relative impact of individual risk factors, family conditions, school characteristics, and community risk factors on children. Expert witnesses, attorneys and law firms, and families should recognize the important role of the ecological approach in determining appropriate child custody arrangements.
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The dramatic increase in the number of child-custody disputes since the seventies has created an equally dramatic need for a standard reference work that examines the growing social problem of children who develop an irrational hatred for a parent as the result of divorce. The International Handbook of Parental Alienation Syndrome: Conceptual, Clinical, and Legal Considerations features clinical, legal, and research perspectives from 32 contributors representing eight countries, building on the work of the late Dr. Richard Gardner, a pioneer in the theory, practice, diagnosis, and treatment of Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS). This unique book addresses the effects of PAS on parents and children, discusses issues surrounding reconciliation between parent and alienated child, and includes material published for the first time on incidence, gender, and false allegations of abuse in PAS. Content highlights examines PAS and the roles of family members, the criminal justice system, and the need for public awareness and policymakers to respond to PAS. Descriptive statistics on 84 cases are given, and the factors affecting reconciliation between the child and target parent are listed. The mild, moderate, and severe categories of PAS are explored, and the psychological consequences of PAS indoctrination for adult children of divorce and the effects of alienation on parents are researched. The role of medical reports in the development of PAS, sexual abuse allegations, and future predictions on the fate of PAS children are many of the clinical considerations in this book. The legal issues concern PAS in American law, criticisms of PAS in courts of law, protecting the fundamental rights of children in families, family law reform, International PAS abductions, and the legal requirements of experts giving evidence to courts. The impact and implications of PAS are immense, and no other single source provides the depth and breadth of coverage of the topic than the clinical and forensic chapters in this book.
Article
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The Parental Alienation Syndrome, so named by Dr. Richard Gardner, is a distinctive family response to divorce in which the child becomes aligned with one parent and preoccupied with unjustified and/or exaggerated denigration of the other, target parent. In severe cases, the child's once love-bonded relationship with rejected/target parent is destroyed. Testimony on Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) in legal proceedings has sparked debate. This two-part article seeks to shed light on the debate by reviewing Gardner's work and that of others on PAS, integrating the concept of PAS with research on high conflict divorce and other related literature. The material is organized under topic headings such as parents who induce alienation, the child in PAS, the target/alienated parent, attorneys on PAS, and evaluation and intervention. Part II begins with the child in PAS. Case vignettes of moderate to severe PAS are presented in both parts, some of which illustrate the consequences for children and families when the system is successfully manipulated by the alienating parent, as well as some difficult but effective interventions implemented by the author, her husband Randy Rand, Ed.D., and other colleagues.
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In this study of 74 children ages 5-12 years in custody disputes, child alienation was defined as the expression of persistent, strong negative attitudes and rejecting behaviors toward one parent with corresponding emotional enmeshment with the other parent. According to parents' ratings using the Child Behavior Checklist, alienated children had more emotional and behavioral problems of clinically significant proportions compared to their nonalienated counterparts. Personality assessments using the Rorschach suggest that alienated and nonalienated children differ in a number of ways with respect to how they perceive and process information, their preferred coping styles and capacities, and how they express affect. In these domains there were also some unexpected findings. Clinical intervention and social policy implications of the findings within the forensic context are discussed.
Article
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The purpose of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of structural and therapeutic interventions for interrupting parental alienation syndrome (PAS) toward the severe end of the spectrum. Follow-up was obtained on 45 PAS children from a custody evaluator's practice. The child's adjustment and relationship with both parents at evaluation and follow-up were compared. Children who had enforced visitation with the target parent, or were in target parent custody, maintained relationships with both parents unless the alienator was too disturbed. In the completed alienation outcome group, the alienating parent had custody before and after the evaluation, and was able to violate court orders with impunity. Therapy as the primary intervention was ineffective and sometimes made things worse.