Let’s start with definitions:
Here’s how some of the top experts in the field describe it:
Dr. Craig A. Childress:
“Parental Alienation is a destructive family process that occurs in some families during and following a divorce, in which the distorted parenting practices of one parent have a severely distorting influence on the child’s relationship with the other parent leading the child to entirely reject a relationship with a normal-range, loving and affectionate parent, so that, as a result, the child loses a healthy relationship with a loving and affectionate parent and is instead left in the unhealthy psychological care of a pathogenic parent.
The pathology reflected in this family may involve what’s called a “role-reversal” relationship in which the child is being used by the parent to meet the emotional and psychological needs of the parent.
- In normal-range and healthy parent-child relationships, the child uses the parent as a “regulatory other” to regulate the child’s emotional and psychological state.
- In a role-reversal relationship, these parent-child roles are reversed, so that it is the parent who is using the child as a “regulatory other” to regulate the parent’s emotional and psychological state.
A role-reversal relationship is extremely pathological and destructive to the child’s healthy development. However, superficially the parent-child relationship will appear to be a closely bonded one. But the hyper-bonding in a role-reversal relationship is actually a symptom of an extremely pathological and destructive relationship in which the parent is “psychologically feeding” off of the child’s healthy development in order to support the parent’s own inadequate “self-structure” formation that occurred during the childhood of this parent.
The processes of attachment-based “parental alienation” represent a severe form of psychological child abuse. Furthermore, the processes of attachment-based “parental alienation” represent a severe form of domestic violence toward both the targeted parent and the child. The legal and mental health response to parental alienation processes should be commensurate with the legal and professional responses to other forms of severe child abuse and domestic violence, and this response should be supported by the force of legal statute.”
Amy J. Baker, Ph.D.:
“Parental alienation is the term used to describe the overall problem of children being encouraged by one parent — the favored parent — to unjustly reject the other parent — the targeted parent. The specific behaviors that they engage in are referred to as parental alienation strategies. Parental alienation often but not always occurs in divorced families.”
There are seventeen primary parental alienation strategies that have been identified through research studies with adults who were alienated as children and with targeted parents. These 17 PA strategies have been validated in a series of subsequent studies. The 17 primary parental alienation strategies fall into five general categories: (1) poisonous messages to the child about the targeted parent in which he or she is portrayed as unloving, unsafe, and unavailable; (2) limiting contact and communication between the child and the targeted parent; (3) erasing and replacing the targeted parent in the heart and mind of the child; (4) encouraging the child to betray the targeted parent’s trust; and (5) undermining the authority of the targeted parent. Taken together these parental alienation strategies foster conflict and psychological distance between the child and the targeted parent. When one parent engages in these behaviors they can be considered a toxic ex.
Children who reject one parent to please the other parent are referred to as alienated or as having the parental alienation syndrome. They will express most if not all of the 8 behavioral manifestations: (1) campaign of denigration of the targeted parent (2) weak, frivolous, or absurd reasons for the rejection of the targeted parent; (3) lack of ambivalence towards both parents in which one is viewed as all good and the other as all bad; (4) lack of remorse for the poor treatment of the targeted parent; (5) reflexive support for the favored parent; (6) use of borrowed scenarios; (7) the “independent thinker” phenomenon; and (8) spread of animosity towards the friends and family of the targeted parent.”
J. Michael Bone, PhD.:
[Distinguishes between Parental Alienation (PA) and Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS)]
“The Differences Between PA & PAS:
- Parental Alienation (PA) refers to the behaviors engaged in by the parent.
- Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) is the psychological condition that exists within the child who has been a victim of Parental Alienating behaviors.
First, Parental Alienation must be distinguished from Parental Alienation Syndrome. Parental Alienation refers to the behaviors engaged in by the parent, with the possible result being the development of Parental Alienation Syndrome in the child. Parental Alienation refers to the actions of one parent onto the children. Specifically, this refers to one parent denigrating, criticizing and attacking the other parent in front of and ultimately with the children. It represents the one parent’s attempt to remove what is referred to as the “Target Parent” from their children’s lives, and making it appear that it is the child who feels this way. How this is accomplished ranges from the most subtle to the most obvious of strategies. But they all carry the common goal of attempting to eliminate the Target Parent from the child’s life and world.
The 4 Key Criteria for Identifying PA:
Parental Alienation refers to specific actions by the Alienating Parent. These behaviors are predictable and form an identifiable pattern. The pattern of these behaviors form four Criteria which are listed below:
- Visitation or access blocking by one parent. This process covers a wide range of expression from passively blocking telephone contact to outright refusal to honor a parenting time schedule.
- False allegations of abuse or unfit parenting against the target parent. This process also covers a wide range of possibilities from vague but consistent criticism of the one’s parenting, to outright accusations of physical or sexual abuse.
- Deterioration in the target parent/child relationship since marital separation. This progressive deterioration ranges from loss of intimate knowledge regarding the child’s life to overt and progressed alienation.
- Exaggerated fear reaction on the part of the child at displeasing the alienating parent. This may otherwise be understood as an enmeshed relationship between the alienating parent and the child where the child may be fearful of displeasing that parent, or may be placed in a position of protecting them.
When these four criteria are present, the stage is set for the development of Parental Alienation and Parental Alienation Syndrome.
Parental Alienation Syndrome and Children:
Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) is the psychological condition that exists within the child who has been a victim of these Parental Alienating behaviors. These behaviors have the effect of causing the child to internally reformulate how they view and feel about the now absent parent. Parental Alienation Syndrome is the process of manipulating the child to internally transform their view of the other parent from being an object of love into being an object of hate. This is a profound and very damaging psychological illness and can and often will create life long harm to the child, well into adulthood.”
The Founder’s Cases:
My 5 children and I are victims are victims of extreme parental alienation. We have not seen each other for over 8 years and have been cutoff from all communications with each other for over 7 years.
I will be filing numerous civil and criminal complaints over the next couple years against my ex-wife, her sisters, several of her friends, her attorney, the CFI (“Child and Family Investigator”), and other individuals, and against the county CPS office and the sheriff’s department and the state and federal agencies who refused to do their duties or knowingly looked the other way. Members will be able to follow and model their cases after mine. In addition, to educate the public about PA and other forms of child abuse and domestic violence, I will be publicly posting the names of those involved in the parental alienation and some of the evidence that shows their complicity; and, in the not-too-distant future, members will be able to do the same.
I would also like to collaborate online with other members on state and federal “causes of action” that any alienated parent can use to sue their ex and their accomplices; and, when the Alliance gets to a certain size, I want to work with members on a landmark lawsuit against the bureaucrats who have seized our family courts and all related government offices and are using them to racketeer (this is only a pipe-dream right now, but I want to bring it on behalf of 300 million unsuspecting Americans, promote it like a prize-fight, and sign up millions as plaintiffs. This is how we will spread awareness and this is how we will end parental alienation once and for all!).
The Alliance’s long-term goal will be to totally eradicate parental alienation in the United States, and we can accomplish this by filing thousands of individual lawsuits against the alienators and hundreds of high-profile lawsuits against their sponsors in our government. Those who go the extra mile for this cause will be first in line for directorships, sub-contracts, and paid-positions in both Pro Se Alliance and THE PEOPLE’S BRANCH.
If you are a victim of parental alienation, become a member, follow my cases, and build your own case, as you learn about the law and how to exercise your rights. There will be easy-to-follow checklists, sample letters, and many other tools available to help you. And, as the Alliance grows, there will also be an ever-growing list of local volunteers to assist you in your pursuit of justice.
Do not be afraid. The law looks complicated, but it’s not, really, and it’s made to help victims, not bureaucrats! And we’re going to show you how to use it to get justice for yourself and your children.
Get fired up! This is it! Let’s end parental alienation for good!
“Parental Alienation Tactics”:
In the summer of 2011, with the help of his Facebook friends, the founder created a comprehensive list of “Parental Alienation Tactics.” His hope was, and still is, that target parents, mental health professionals, law enforcement, family law courts, and attorneys can use the list to remedy the problem.
The list starts out with the founder’s account of his ex-wife’s parental alienation tactics:
- Danced around in front of the kids and rubbed her hands together while saying, “Soon daddy will be gone and we will be happy … I’ve got a big surprise for daddy … Your dad doesn’t love us anymore … men are scum … men treat women badly … “
- Despite previous loving relationships, in the final months of married life my kids said the following things to me: “You’re bad … Grandpa [on my side] was bad because he drank alcohol … You’re bad because you don’t go to church … You love Joey [my mentally-handicapped brother] more than us … You’re not working so you’re bad … You won’t go skiing with us this Winter because you’ll be working or snowmobiling with Joe … We won’t like snowmobiling … Mom will cut our hair from now on … I’m going to kill myself … I hate my life … Why are you making mommy work … What’s a divorce … Why don’t you love mom anymore … Why are you divorcing mom … Mommy says you don’t have any friends because you’re bad … Are you going to live with Joe … “
- Had the kids eat right after school so they would not be hungry for family supper.
- Even though I had never touched her in a mean way, but she had been violent to me, she made a phony 911 call and then faxed the “Mandatory Criminal Restraining Order” to the schools, Soccer Club, Girl Scouts, and our Church, to enlist support for the alienation; tried twice to get further restraining orders for the kids; registered as a “battered woman” at a family crisis center and registered all 5 of our kids in state-paid counseling to help them “cope in a family with an abusive father.”
- Repeated the free 10-week counseling program 4 times to brainwash the kids into thinking that I had been beating mom up for a long time.
- Surrounded herself with like-minded hatemongers, gold-diggers, and hardcore feminists.
- Instructed teachers to hold all homework during my parenting time weekends.
- Stole or returned my mail from the schools and church so I would miss out on activities.
- Scheduled our boys for alter-boy serving on my weekends 45 miles from my new place.
- In addition to regularly scheduled soccer games, scheduled our 3 oldest boys to referee so many games that they wouldn’t be able to see me on my weekends.
- Staged runaways on my weekends.
- Told the kids that they could ride friend’s buses to their homes on my weekends.
- Arranged sleepovers on my weekends.
- Kidnapped one or more of the kids from me on my weekends; then shut off all phones or instructed the kids not to answer so I couldn’t find them.
- Teased any child who said they loved me or wanted to see me.
- Pit the kids against each other if one stood up for me.
- Taught each of our children how to hate me without cause or reason.
- Hid my Christmas presents without putting them under the tree, and then gave them to the kids late on Christmas Eve.
- Changed the kids’ cell phone numbers and had them switch phones.
- Charged the kids for cell time if they talked to me.
- Instructed the kids to never answer their phones when my number showed on the Caller ID.
- Hid the home phone and recorder so they would never hear my messages.
- Cut off all phone contact in August 2008.
- Forced the kids forward my emails to her, some unopened.
- Cut off all email contact in April 2008.
- Instructed the kids to ignore my friend requests on Facebook.
The following are accounts of parental alienation tactics by the founder’s Facebook friends:
- (Matt Txxxxx) Tell the children Daddy doesn’t love you or want to see you; Use the courts as allies – falsely accuse and commit perjury with impunity; also law enforcement forewarn an alienator of an impending interrogation and threaten the children to keep quite about the alienator’s tactics; scare the children for months that Daddy is bad and coming to take them away.
- (Tim Cxxxxx) Use subtle financial approaches in court – make fallacious arguments that the NCP doesn’t need money for an apartment or a car and the judge will gladly set support accordingly; then, with no car nor a suitable place for visits, the NCP will see less and less of the children and the court will see that the NCP doesn’t care enough enough to exercise visitation; and, as a bonus, the children will believe the lies that the alienated parent did not care enough to spend time with them.
- (Keith Mxxxxx) Tell the kids that they don’t have to see the other parent if they don’t want to; refuse to agree on a reasonable one-time change in the visitation order so a child can spend a few more minutes with the NCP; sacrifice your child’s happiness so the government can maximize it’s funding for child support.
- (MiChelle Myyyyy) Ex husband, mother, infertile sister and brother-in-law manipulated and lied using false allegations/accusations.
- (Chris Bxxxxx) Enrolled his child in daycare during his parenting time so he looks either uninterested in his socialization or gives implied consent to a decision made without his legal right as a joint custodian; told his 2 1/2 yr old not to use the potty at dada’s house; had him followed by unmarked police to watch him play at a friends house with his child; schedules all court hearings on days when he has his son; he is treated like an ATM machine.
- (Louis Dxxxxx) Exes are empowered to take revenge against other parent; family court is to blame.
- (Wiliam H. Bxxxxx) My children were drugged by my father-in-law; my mother-in-law told them lies about me and said “daddy was going to come and kill mommy”; at one visitation my son told the Child Service’s worker, “Grandma told me to say daddy hit mommy” ” daddy didn’t” ! He was three years old; I was then forced to pay a person as a monitor $30 per hour.
- (Todd Exxxxx) One tactic is to invent charges, have the NCP jailed, and then flee to another state with the child; then tell the child how mean their daddy is so that the child will be afraid to speak to the father; and then deny contact for fear of self and the child’s life.
- (Tornados Ryyyyy) Portrayed to the kids as a loser, stupid, crazy, and worthless, for years; kids lost all respect for her and think so low of her that they don’t invite her to anything or visit her or even send her cards for Mother’s Day or her birthday; both her kids think they are god; other family members, such as aunts, uncles, grandmas, grandpas, routinely join in on the alienation and abuse also.
- (Thomas Hxxxxx) Used to have near-daily contact with his kids; Ex had him trespassed, which prompted the corrupt court to order visits – supervised?; Ex is being coached.
- (Taana Pyyyyy) Blocking physical access at his door, he would make faces at me, taunting and laughing at my distress; I called him to pick up our 13-year-old daughter for Mother’s Day, received the typical verbal attack, and when I arrived to pick up our daughter, his vehicle was gone; he returned 3.5 hours later after he took our daughter out for Mother’s Day breakfast.
- (Lorraine A. Myyyyy) My Mom became ill 32 yrs. ago and I took care of her; representatives of the “Life Care Center” in my town committed perjury in court to take her away from me, and then used parental alienation tactics to turn my mother against me; my Dad had just passed away – he and Mom were together over 60 yrs; after witnessing an illegal prescription drug ring in the nursing home about 5 years ago, my Mom was put in solitary confinement and has been there ever since.
- (Emilia Ryyyyy) I voluntarily shared custody 50/50 with my ex even though per our orders I only had to let him see our girls on Sundays for 7 hours; he kept hauling me into court and made a phony calendar of parenting time to confuse the 3rd judge [fraud upon the court]; I temporarily lost physical and legal custody of all four of our minor female children, which, now 5 years later, has become permanent despite reports by three court appointed independent psychologists.
- (Steve Sxxxxx) The simplest tactic is to take the kids out of state, make it financially impossible for the NCP to visit the kids, and not tell the NCP anything at all as to how the kids are doing.
- (Itis Txxxxx) Constantly remind the kids that “Dad is Bad.”
- (Melanie Byyyyy) Slap the kids around in front of their grandparents knowing the courts will not do anything about it.
Common Parental Alienation Tactics:
- Denying visitation.
- Denying contact.
- Systematic denigration of the other parent to the kids.
- Systematic denigration of the other parent to other adults in front of the kids.
- Erasing phone messages.
- Deleting emails.
- Projecting blame for their alienation tactics on the target parent.
- (Matt Txxxxx) Starting the alienation by making a false accusation.
- (Tracy Powell Lynch) Using false accusations to gain custody, suggest supervised visitation, then deny visitation, obstruct phone calls, and have the children block the alienated parent online; CPS, school nurses, teachers [and law enforcement] ignore evidence and complaints.
- (LynnValley Jxxxxx) Having the children block the alienated parent and all his or her relatives online.
- (Chris Rxxxxx) Not allowing the child to bring home items from the target parent’s house; scheduling activities during target parent’s parenting time; false reporting child abuse, compulsive flaw finding with the target parent in front of the child; and propaganda to entice others to join the alienating parent’s cause.
- (Sandy Syyyyy) Placing children with psychologists or doctors until they find one that agrees with them.
- (Richard Exxxxx) Using PA and the family law system to make money.
- (James Mxxxxx) Even when the target parent tries to do the right thing they can still be blamed.
- (Amy J.L. Baker, PhD – From her video at http://www.amyjlbaker.com/parents.html) #1 Strategy: Constant badmouthing (25:20) to program the kids to believe that the Target Parent (TP) is “unsafe, unloving and unavailable”; #2 Strategy: Limiting contact with the TP (26:20), chipping away at visitation; #3 Strategy: Withdrawal of love (27:05) after visitation with the TP, treating the kids as enemies, traitors, giving them cold food, ignoring them; #4 Strategy: Telling kids that the TP doesn’t love them anymore (27:40), and has abandoned them; #5 Strategy: Forcing the child to choose (28:22) between the parents, between doing fun things or seeing the TP, sides; Strategy #6: Creating the impression that the TP is dangerous (29:30), instilling totally unfounded fear; Strategy #7: Limiting the mention of and photographs of the TP (30:40); Strategy #8: Teaching the kids how to reject the TP (32:00), and sometimes providing scripts of what to say. Has a whole chapter in her book on how Alienating Parents (AP) act like “cult leaders.”
- (Mike Wxxxxx) Brainwash the kids to perceive the TP as causing financial problems for the AP; Tell the kids about the legal aspects of the divorce/custody/support case; Brainwash the kids to think they feel uneasy around the TP; Instruct the kids to use one word answers and don’t say much to the TP; Instruct the kids to be rude or belligerent to TP; Instruct the kids to violate court orders and just blow off parenting time; Try to schedule visitation access that would be impractical or impossible and then tell the kids “see I told you he doesn’t care about you”; Sign the kids up for events on the TP’s visitation time knowing they won’t be able to make it and then tell the kids they should resent the TP for not getting them there; Remind the kids constantly that it won’t be much fun to be with the TP or make them feel guilty if they do have fun with TP; Constantly remind the kids that the TP is abusive and a risk to them; Brainwash the kids to believe that the TP is a threat to the AP too, and that they should help “protect” the AP; Pawn the kids off on other parents, instead of the TP, if you can’t make it; Denigrate the TP directly to the kids, or indirectly by badmouthing the TP to others in front of the kids; Allow the kids to choose whether or not they feel like seeing the TP; Tell the kids the TP caused the marriage to fail; Refuse the TP access to medical and school records, and schedules, and extra curricular activities; Interrupt the TP’s time with constant phone calls or unreasonable demands; Blame the TP for not having enough money in front of the kids; Constantly remind the kids that they should be angry with the TP; Tell stories about the TP or manipulate the child’s memory of the TP; Stage interferences of the TP’s time with the kids; Drill the kids with questions about the TP’s personal life after each visit; Constantly tell the kids to be “careful” around the TP or that the TP has “problems”; “Rescue” the kids from the TP when there is no danger; To get away with all this, tell the courts: “the kids don’t want to spend any time with their dad even though I have told the kids they have to … it’s not my doing; it’s between the kids and their father … there is nothing I can do about it … I told the kids to give dad a chance, that he’s their only dad, and to make the most of it … It’s not my fault the kids don’t want to see their father”; and finally (if the above is not sick or evil enough), tell the kids to make false accusations against the TP.
Injuries caused by PA and PAS:
- Emotional damage that can last a lifetime.
- Emotional distress.
- Taking time off from work to deal with it.
- Bad grades and attitude problems in school.
- (Richard Exxxxx) “The System” – judges, attorneys, social workers, therapists, guardian ad litems and the rest of that ilk – are very well aware of PAS, and allow the alienator to do as they please with total impunity [and are therefore liable for damages to the children and the target parent].
- (Steve Dxxxxx) Youths running amok and rioting. Half, maybe more, are on welfare without a complete family unit to guide them [Excellent point: PA injures all of society].
- (Louis Dxxxxx) Children are innocent victims [which makes PA especially egregious]; I wasn’t important enough by the courts standards to be able to call before they went to sleep to say “I love you, say your prayers and sweet dreams” [causing irreparable injury to both parent and child that will last a lifetime].
- (Tracey Pyyyyy Lyyyyy) I am a victim of PA; my son is brainwashed against me. I compare it to death – it is the death of a parent-child relationship; we parents nurtured, fed, loved, admired our children, who looked back at us with adoring eyes; now their eyes are empty.
- (Wiliam H. Bxxxxx) I lost my children 17 years ago and have never seen them since; falsely accused of sexually molesting my children; I was destitute and could not afford legal assistance & yet ordered to pay 1000s per month in child support, which, according to the case fixers, is over $400,000 today.
- (Joy Hyyyyy) [Very well said:] We have children being orchestrated to sit before therapists and say the targeted parent abused/molested them. Some children have to be shown porno films to really be convincing when they dupe these therapists. The childhoods of these children- especially their innocence and love in their hearts for mom or dad, are stripped. It pierces their souls and it is evil. The reality is that some children will forever be loyal to their abusers depending on the severity of the alienation. The hate campaign against that parent becomes “normal” and a way of life. When these children grow into adulthood, many assume the roles of the hating/abusive parent and perpetuate the hate. We have now adults who awaken each day, contemplating how they will attack their targeted parent. It may be through harassment, terror, stalking, threats, etc., but they know how to do it…after all, they learned from the insane…the best. They may not have seen this targeted parent in 30+ years, yet speak of him or her like they saw one another yesterday.
- (Todd Exxxxx) Holding a child back from being a part of a parent’s life [causes irreparable harm].
- (Amy J.L. Baker, PhD – From her video at http://www.amyjlbaker.com/parents.html) Grownup victims of PAS testified: 1. Self-esteem problems (34:40), hated themselves; 2. Lack of trust for others (35:15), and for themselves; 3. Depression and sadness (35:40), inability to mourn the loss of the TP, overwhelming guilt; 4. “Inter-generational transmission” of PAS (37:00), for example, child victim of PAS treats his other parent badly and then grows up, gets married and divorced, and then becomes the TP.
Remedies for PA and PAS:
- Reversal of custody.
- Reduction in parenting time.
- Retraction of decision-making ability.
- Awards for damages.
- Jury trials in severe cases.
- (Matt Txxxxx) Equal protection under every law of our land by the police and family courts, for the falsely accused and victims of perjury, false reporting and other crimes routinely committed against the target parent.
- (Keith Mxxxxx) Truth and evidence do not seem to matter in family court [Very important: Whenever seeking a remedy for PA or even mentioning it, attach evidence to your pleadings so the proof is on the record; then it cannot be denied].
- (Chris Bxxxxx) We feel, we love our children, we have pain and pressure and none of it is easy; we are not passing judgment, but asking to be treated like humans, like Americans, equal under the law.
- (Joy Hyyyyy) [Vow to never take revenge as a remedy] I personally, may not have had much control. However, for the rest of my life, I can look myself in the mirror, know I never, ever did a thing but love my children and that I was honest and ethical. God knows this. I also know these abusers will stand before our God for what they have done.
- (Amber Gyyyyy) Requiring the alienator to learn about and understand the long-term damages they are causing to the children.
- (Amy J.L. Baker, PhD – From her video at http://www.amyjlbaker.com/parents.html) For parents with some contact (39:00): 1. Don’t engage in arguments with your kids, but don’t be a doormat either – if accused, simply say, “That’s not true, if you’re interested about my side I’ll tell you, but let’s do…[fun thing]” – kids remember the feeling of being with TP, so don’t try to win their arguments or false accusations; 2. Hold to the highest possible standards, keep sending cards no matter if AP is throwing them away, etc.; 3. Separate the AP’s messages from the messengers (the kids), always remember that the kids are being exploited by the APs; 4. Empathize with your kids, they are making choices that are totally manipulated by the AP; 5. Be safe, be loving, be available (be the opposite of what the AP says you are); 6. Learn about and tell others about PAS, including the courts, attorneys, and other family law ‘professionals’. For parents without contact or access (44:20): 1. Never give up hope, some kids figure it out on their own; 2. Never hate your kids, it is not their fault; 3. Keep trying to contact them with short messages – “I love you, I’m thinking about you, I’d love to see you”; 4. Let your kids know that you will always be there waiting for them.
If you can add to these lists, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.