North Dakota Law Review, Volume 75, 1999, p 323-364; Parental Alienation; Note in the Best Interest of the Children by Douglas Darnall
• Listen to the child, without negating what the child is saying, regardless of how outlandish it may be (that is the child's reality) and then encourage the child to hear the rejected parent's point of view. Appeal to the child's maturity by saying that is the way mature people handle conflicts.
• Appeal to the child's intellect by encouraging him/her to carefully consider ideas or statements that are blatantly false or outlandish.
• Point out to the child how persuasive advertising can influence a person's thinking and try to relate that to the child's thinking about the rejected parent.
• Look for books or movies that can stimulate discussion about the importance of two parents and the sadness of having only one parent.
• If appropriate, invite both the child and rejected parent to the same function, making the child aware that the rejected parent is valued and appreciated.
• Look for opportunities to provide positive input about the targeted parent.
Children displaying these tendencies may well be the subjects of parental alienation by one parent. If this is the case, attorneys and judges need to know how to help stop it, as well as deter and prevent further alienation.
The symptoms of parental alienation describe a parent's behavior towards the child. It says nothing about how the parent's behavior impacts the child's behavior or attitudes towards the targeted parent. If parental alienation is successful and influences the child against the targeted parent, then the observer will see symptoms of parental alienation syndrome For example, if a child doesn't appear to have a problem with visits, one can safely conclude that parental alienation syndrome is not severe or present. That is not to say that parental alienation is not occurring, and in time the child may display severe symptoms of parental alienation syndrome. Often, children appear healthy until asked about the targeted parent. Some of the behaviors an observer can expect to see in the parental alienation syndrome child include:
Parental Alienation Syndrome was defined by Richard Gardner as ‘a disturbance in which children are preoccupied with deprecation and criticism of a parent-denigration that is unjustified and/or exaggerated.'
Parental Alienation focuses on the parents’ behavior as opposed to the alienated children's conditions, which is termed Parental Alienation Syndrome.
Parental alienation, or Hostile Aggressive Parenting, can be mild and temporary or extreme and ongoing. Most researchers believe that any alienation of a child against a parent is harmful to the child's emotional and mental health. Extreme, obsessive, and ongoing Parental Alienation can cause terrible psychological damage to children extending well into adulthood.
Parental alienation, sometimes called Hostile Aggressive Parenting, is a behavior by a parent, or an adult a child trusts, such as a grandmother/father, aunt, uncle, etc., whether conscious or unconscious, that could create alienation in the relationship between a child and a parent.
Parental alienation can be considered a form of emotional abuse for at least two reasons. First, the strategies that the alienating parents used to effectuate the alienation are emotionally abusive in and of themselves. That is, the alienating parents verbally assaulted, isolated, corrupted, rejected, terrorized, ignored, and over-pressured the children in order to alienate them from the targeted parent. These behaviors are part and parcel of what constitutes emotional abuse of children. In addition, it is proposed that separation of a child from a parent also constitutes emotional abuse.
Children who are exposed to PAS suffer in a variety of general as well as specific ways from this experience. It will often have both temporary and lasting effects on their lives. This is obviously not the intention of the alienator, but it is the result of such alienation procedures and programming which causes the child to show a negative attitude and behavior towards one of the parents.
Below are the more common symptoms of parental alienation. Many of these behaviors will look familiar, because some alienation occurs in all divorces. Some symptoms may come as a surprise, because many don't think of the behavior as something that can hurt children. Common symptoms include:
• The child feels the need to protect a parent who is depressed, anxious, or needy.
• The child wants to avoid the anger or rejection of the alienating parent.
• The child has unresolved feelings about the rejected parent and the divorce
• Have trouble trusting others.
• Have low self-esteem.
• Have difficulty sustaining intimate relationships.
• Experience shame for hurting the rejected parent.
• Suffer from depression.
• Engage in substance abuse to relieve the pain of parental alienation.
• Are more likely to experience divorce.
• Are more likely to have difficulty with authority and the law.
• Experience the loss of their own children through parental alienation
Now follows a series of symptoms found in children, when they are presented over a period of time, with brain washing or programming against another parent. The effects are both short and long term. It must be stated from the beginning that not all the symptoms about to be mentioned occur in all children who are involved in the parental alienation syndrome scenario. There will also be some difference between the very young child and the older child who have more experience of the PAS process. Not all the symptoms mentioned occur in all children. However some symptoms undoubtedly will occur and effect the child unless some form of treatment is carried out which eliminates the impact of the alienating process:
If your ex is actively or passively alienating your child(ren)’s normal affection toward you, he or she was probably emotionally abusive while you were together. Parental alienation is her or his way of continuing to abuse and hurt you via remote access. Generally, most bullies don’t see themselves as such. If you confront your ex about this behavior, they’ll deny it and blame you for your deteriorating relationship with your child(ren), even as you make every effort to be a present and involved parent.
Parental Alienation is damaging to children, whether or not they reject a parent. It's important to recognize and stop the harmful behaviors of the adults before any 'symptoms' develop in the child, and before the behavior escalates to Parental Abduction or Parental Homicide