What Is Parental Alienation?

The Cleaners of Greeley, CO

Erotic Weekends
When these behaviors are deliberate, and result, or have the potential to result, in significant psychological harm to the child, mental health professionals refer to this as child psychological abuse. Ski up to 3 and a half days Monday to Thursday with our ready-made inclusive packages. Warshak's essay in The Atlantic on childhood trauma and the creation of Batman. I've got it all here in my mind. Let me have my little vicious circle.

Also in This Section…

Daddy’s home: Why I let my ex live with us on weekends

The four of us stood uncomfortably in the foyer for a few minutes before I started to walk away. My son begged me to stay, and when I said no, he asked why. That is when I began learning how to put my anger and hurt aside and focus on what was best for my children. That museum trip was only the first step, but in time I allowed my husband back into the house when he picked up the children, and sometimes I would join them for lunch or a movie. They were dealing with their own disappointment, grief and anger, and in the early days they often refused to go with their father unless I joined.

Our life had been blown to bits in an instant, and my children needed me to show them how to move forward. There were meals at which I sat with a forced smile and nodded politely, while seething or feeling nauseous, but said nothing. There were days it took all of my strength to hold back tears watching my children interacting with their father, and remembering the happier days we had as a family.

But I had one overriding goal: In the months following those first tense family lunches, the four of us settled into a routine where daddy would stay over on the weekends in the guest room and make pancakes the next day.

During that first summer he and my son pitched a tent in the back yard and spent nearly every weekend night huddled in sleeping bags, watching a movie on a laptop and gorging on junk food.

Very slowly, my husband and I became friendly again. Our situation would be comical if not for the underlying heartache, and there have been ironic moments over the years; such as when I was getting ready for a date and my husband found the perfect shoes for my outfit. Or when the man I am seeing arrived at my house on a recent Friday night at precisely the same time as my husband, leading to an awkward handshake and my teenagers wondering if punches would be thrown.

When later I asked my husband what he thought of my beau, he replied that he was well dressed. From the beginning, some people in my life thought this was an extremely odd arrangement. When not treating the alienated parent with open contempt, severely alienated children remain aloof and express no genuine love, affection, or appreciation.

Rather than express contrition for behavior that far exceeds the bounds of decency and normal behavior, alienated children show no apparent shame or guilt for mistreating a parent. Severe alienation is not a situation, as one attorney argued, where children merely love one parent a lot more than the other parent. These children harbor strong and irrational aversion toward a parent with whom they formerly enjoyed a close relationship. The aversion may take the form of fear, hatred, or both.

In some cases, when trivial complaints fail to accomplish the goal of severing contact with a parent, favored parents and children lodge accusations of abuse. They seem unable to summon up positive memories or perceptions about the rejected parent, and have difficulty reporting negative aspects or experiences with the favored parent. They rewrite the history of their relationship with the rejected parent to erase pleasant moments.

By contrast, physically abused children often try to maintain a positive image of the abusive parent. They cling to positive memories of being nurtured by, and having fun with, their abuser. With children who are severely and irrationally alienated, critical thinking about parents is nowhere in evidence. One of the most pernicious signs of unreasonable alienation is what I call hatred by association—the spread of hatred to people and even objects associated with the rejected parent, such as members of the extended family, therapists, and pets.

They learn that it displeases one parent when they show signs of connection and affection with the other parent. Often they refer to the rejected parent by first name or with a term of derision, rather than as Mom or Dad. Alienation and estrangement are sometimes defined as synonyms, but the dictionary distinguishes the two according to whether the person has contact with the object of alienation.

Alienated children show contempt and withdraw affection while still in contact with the parent often not by choice. Estranged children are physically apart from a parent in addition to the emotional separation that characterizes alienation.

The words carry no connotation about the extent to which the state of being apart, either emotionally alienation or physically estrangement is realistic, rational, and reasonable.

For instance, we must distinguish a child who feels more resonance and rapport with one parent than with the other, from the child who actively, harshly, and consistently rejects the other parent.

My article on Misdiagnosis of Parental Alienation Syndrome discusses this more fully. One source of confusion in nomenclature is the fact that in the English language the terms alienation and estrangement can refer to a noun — the state of a relationship — and they can refer to a verb, the act or process of alienating someone.

For instance, social alienation refers to the state of a person feeling alienated from society. As with many words in our language, the context in which the word appears makes clear what we mean. Parental alienation can refer to the state of a child being alienated from a parent. The same term denotes two related concepts. We can view this as a problem, or accept it as a feature of the English language and rely on context to clarify the intended meaning. Ontario Justice Quinn favors the dictionary approach proposed above, as opposed to redefining familiar terms.

My reference to parental alienation is merely factual and reflects the ordinary dictionary meaning of the words: Nearly all childhood emotional and behavior problems are multi-layered, and parent-child conflicts are no exception.

When these behaviors are deliberate, and result, or have the potential to result, in significant psychological harm to the child, mental health professionals refer to this as child psychological abuse. Some parents do a good job of harnessing the emotions unleashed by divorce. Its time to register for September in Lake Geneva, Wi!! Not many more beautiful places than this at this time of year!

And I'm still offering my register 2 newbies - get one more for free anniversary special! Been doing these awesome events since !!

Posted by queen bee at Join dozens of other women looking for a great weekend get-away in Lake Geneva, Wi! Get 10 sf of table space to use as you like!! Many girlfriends use it for scrapbooking, making jewelry, stamping, working on their computers, organizing, home projects, letter writing, painting, drawing, quilting, playing board games and more!

Participate in other things at the event or around town. The town itself is a destination! Many restaurants and fun shopping. During the summer months, you can take a cruise on it.

Schedule an Appointment