Parental Alienation: Nobody’s child cup of tea

By: Cheryl P. Salvan & Danica Joan Dockery/ Identifying Symptoms of Parental Alienation

Parental Alienation and Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) is a term coined by Richard Alan Gardner, an American child psychiatrist in 1985. Although he wrote 41 books and more than 200 articles in journals and books, acceptance of the term has not been easy. With public education through several decades, these terms have been more widely accepted by medical and judicial associations.

May 25, 2019, marked a historical turn when the World Health Organization accepted the current version of ICD-11 which contains within it the index term parental alienation for the code QE.52 Caregiver-Child Relationship Problem.[1]

How does it occur? Is this really happening?

The feeling of being unsafe and being left out is common to victims of Parental Alienation

According to WebMD, “Parental alienation primarily occurs during a high-conflict divorce in which the child identifies strongly with one parent, usually the custodial parent. The other parent is hated and rejected without any justifiable reason, such as abuse.”

As an educator, counselor, legal professional, or family friend, here are 8 signs you can look for in a family dynamic that might be Parental Alienation. [2]

1. the relationship between the alienated parent and the child will shift seemingly overnight.

2. the child cannot justify their feelings of hatred with specific examples or their reasons are wildly untrue. 

3. A child suffering from PAS will see no redeeming qualities in the alienated parent.

4. The child will deny that any ideas came from the alienating parent.

5. Children with PAS typically don’t experience feelings of guilt for their harsh treatment of the alienated parent.

6. The child is unwilling to be impartial

7. Alienated children will often borrow adult language or ideas from their alienator that they do not appear to understand.

8. Rejection of extended family.

“Alienating behavior is extremely harmful to children. As one leading researcher noted, the existing research “suggests that alienated children and parents suffer many negative outcomes. These can include psychological disorders such as anxiety, depression, substance abuse, and even the contemplation of or attempted suicide. Declines in academic performance among children and decreases in work productivity of parents can also occur.” [3]



[2]The Koblin Family Law Center


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