Parental alienation psychologically manipulates the most innocent members of the family and causes lasting psychological damage. Parental alienation can permanently affect the bonds between parents and their children.
What Is Parental Alienation?
Parental alienation is the disruption of the parent/child relationship through manipulation and isolation. The parent committing parental alienation attempts to sever or prevent a healthy relationship between the targeted parent and the children, often using the children as a bargaining chip. This type of strategy focuses on unjustified or exaggerated criticism of the targeted parent with the goal of damaging the relationship between the parent and the children.
What Effect Does Parental Alienation Have on a Family?
Parental alienation can harm every member of the family. The targeted parent may cycle through anger, depression, frustration, and hopelessness. The manipulated child may express disrespect, fear and irrational anger toward the targeted parent. Often, the bond between the parent and child deteriorates over time, sometimes resulting in family members becoming unable to communicate or spend time together.
In some parental alienation cases, the offending parent makes false allegations of abuse against the other parent. These accusations, which are more common in high conflict divorce cases, often result in severe psychological harm and loss of reputation for the targeted parent.
Signs of Parental Alienation
There may be several signs that parental alienation is occurring, such as:
- Constant criticism of one parent
- Borrowed scenarios to denigrate the targeted parent
- Weak rationalizations for the denigration
- Reflexive support from the parent causing the conflict toward the children
- Lack of guilt over allegations and criticism of the other parent
- Spread of animosity to other people familiar with the children and divorce
Movement to Stop Parental Alienation
Various community members have been part of a growing movement to stop parental alienation. Ginger Gentile has produced a documentary on the subject titled “Erasing Family.” Others have participated in symposiums and educational events to shed light on the growing problem. Gentile and others promote reform in family court and raising awareness in court-ordered family separations. Other professionals in the education, health and legal fields also work with families who are at risk for parental alienation.Go Back <<