Sunday, April 25, 2010

Sunday Capitol Rally for 'Parental Alienation Awareness Day'

Sunday California Capitol Rally for 'Parental Alienation Awareness Day

Fathers 4 Justice, CA and Families 4 Justice is organizing a candlelight vigil to be held on the sidewalk in front of the west side of the California State Capitol, on Sunday, April 25, at 8 p.m. in recognition of the 4th Annual Parental Alienation Awareness Day.

Simultaneous vigils will be held throughout the United States in order to bring attention to this vile and hostile behavior most often practiced by one parent against another during and after many child custody battles and cases. Supporting organizations include: Live Be at Dads, A Parents Right, and the Justice Reform Coalition.

For the past few years, several U.S. governors have proclaimed or recognized April 25 as Parental Alienation Awareness Day, including Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska and West Virginia. In addition, there have been two Canadian Proclamations-one in Edmonton, Alberta, and Oakville, Ontario, and an international proclamation issued by the Bermuda Islands.

Parental alienation is a group of practiced behaviors that are damaging to children's mental and emotional well-being, and can interfere with a relationship of a child and either parent. These behaviors most often accompany high conflict marriages, separation or divorce. The children are frequently subjected to various alienating behaviors and bullied into being separated from one loving parent by another.

Parental alienation and hostile, aggressive parenting, deprive children of their right to be loved by, and show love for, both of their parents. These destructive actions by the alienating parent (the parent who is responsible for the manipulations and bullying) are considered a form of child abuse - as the alienating tactics used on the children are disturbing, confusing and often frightening, and rob children of their sense of security and safety.

"Parental Alienation behaviors, whether they are verbal or non-verbal, cause a child to be mentally manipulated or bullied into believing that a loving parent is the cause of all of their problems, and/or are the enemy; someone to be feared, hated, disrespected and/or avoided. It clearly is a form of child abuse," said Donald Tenn, a father of three, including a beloved 6 year old daughter from whom his wife has alienated him from.

All children have the universal right to love and be loved by both mother and father. Statistically speaking, there is much support for the statement "two parents are better than one."

"We encourage Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to join the governor's of 13 other states and issue a state proclamation recognizing April 25 as National Parental Alienation Awareness Day. We further encourage the Governor and the California State Legislature to work on behalf of all children in California to put an end to this assault on children. After all, children are our future and they see much of the world through our eyes," said the sponsors.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Parental Alienation Syndrome in DSM V

Parental Alienation Syndrome in DSM V

By djohnm

We know divorce can result in a child being alienated from a parent. It happens all the time. Often one parent actively promotes the alienation of the other parent. That isn’t news. No one doubts parental alienation exists, but is it a disorder or syndrome? That’s an ongoing debate. It doesn’t currently appear in DSM IV, the American Psychiatry Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Many people would like to see it appear in DSM V, which is currently under development.

One group which we very much admire–Fathers and Families–is doing great work encouraging people to contact the APA and report cases that might qualify as parental alienation cases. We applaud them for their efforts. But at the same we feel they may be embarking on a risky strategy. We wonder if it is important to meet the scientific threshold required for parental alienation to qualify as a mental disorder or syndrome.

Even if the DSM V does not include parental alienation syndrome (PAS) that does not make parental alienation any less tragic. By engaging in a full court press to recognize PAS, the impact of non-recognition might trivialize the parental alienation that does occur, even if it isn’t labelled a syndrome.

We prefer no-fault remedies that fix the problem, once identified, and punish parents who erect obstacles to overcoming parental alienation. If judges are empowered to recognize evidence pointing to parental alienation, they can enforce remedies.

Our fear is that if DSM V ignores PAS, too many people will believe PAS is without merit, and merely a politically motivated snow job. We ourselves don’t know if it qualifies as a syndrome, but we do know it occurs and we’d like to see it end. We’re just not sure pushing the DSM V angle is the right approach. Maybe we are just pessimistic about the chances of it appearing in DSM V. If you’d like to increase those chances, fill out the petitions offered on Fathers and Families.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Parental Alienation, Divorce, and Mental Illness

Parental Alienation, Divorce, and Mental Illness Tuesday, January 12, 2010
filed under: divorce logic

If you're tempted to put your kid in the middle of your conflicts with your ex, don't do it -- it could lead to serious mental illness.

parents arguing

Getty Images

Dr. Michelle Golland: Children who are caught in the severe emotional struggle of divorcing parents may not only be suffering emotionally, but may now fall under a new definition that is being proposed for the American Psychiatric Association reference tool, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).

The DSM may include a new mental illness classification: "Parental Alienation." Through his research, Dr. Bernet of Vanderbilt University has defined PA as a form of brainwashing that occurs in a small number of highly contentious divorces. Children experiencing PA develop this condition by subtle or explicit signals the alienating parent sends a child.

Parental Alienation involves mental manipulation or bullying of children, which results in the destruction of a loving or warm relationship with the other parent. Parental Alienation and Hostile Aggressive Parenting deprives children coping with divorce of the stable and loving relationships they need when dealing with the divorce of their parents, and in their life in general.

Children experiencing the emotional bullying by one parent against the other can develop a severe opposition to contact with one parent and/or overt hatred for one parent when there is little and often no logical reason to explain the child's behavior. During the crisis of a divorce, it is key to keep the peace between the parents so as to ensure the children do not feel put in between the conflict. Let's face it -- the couple is divorcing each other, but they should not be divorced from the children.

The healthy and reasonable parent wants to keep their children feeling emotionally safe with both parents. The desire should be to strengthen the bonds between both parents even through the divorce. A healthy parent encourages visits with the other parent, does not talk negatively about the other parent in the presence of the children, and honestly tries to set aside their own hostile feelings to help their child feel less distress. The healthy parent is sensitive to the child's feelings and needs and encourages positive feelings toward the other parent because they know it is paramount to their well being, now and in the future.

The Alienating Parent may seek emotional comfort from their child (and want validation for their pain and anger against their ex-spouse) by trying to get the child to align against the other parent. They speak negatively of their ex and subtly communicate their anger in front of the children. Alienating parents often learn how to manipulate and use their children to hurt the other parent on purpose -- and with a vengeance. The parents who are actively alienating their ex may do such things as telling the children the other parent doesn't love them or doesn't want to see them. They may destroy or hide communication from the other parent. They may give into the child's desire to avoid the parent and actually encourage such behavior rather than encourage them to have a healthy relationship with their ex.

Some Signs of Parental Alienation

• Children perceive one parent as causing financial problems for the other parent
• Children have knowledge of the divorce details or legal procedures
• Children show sudden change in attitude toward a parent, which is hostile and negative
• Child is not being delivered for court-ordered visitation and is being allowed to "choose" if they go to visit the target parent
• Child makes false allegations of abuse
• Parent asks the child to choose one parent over the other
• Parent reminds and reinforces anger and negativity toward target parent
• Parent gives the impression to the children that if they have a good time with the target parent on a visit, it will hurt them
• Parent asks the children about the other parent's personal life
• Parent "rescues" the children from the other parent when there is no danger

The APA will announce on January 20, 2010, what proposed changes will be included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. If they are considering including Parental Alienation, they will begin three years of field studies, which will enable them to decide the diagnostic relevance and accuracy of Parental Alienation.

I believe it is important to realize the damaging negative emotional consequences of PA on children in high-conflict divorce. It is why I advocate for divorce therapy for any of my divorcing clients who have children. My goal is to avoid this type of harmful behavior and educate my clients on ways to create a peaceful and less stressful experience for their mutual children.

Read more:

Parental Alienation, Divorce, and Mental Illness |

Why the Courts are Failing Children from Divorced Homes

Parental Alienation Disorder should be included in the next DSM due out in 2011. From what the following author says about it, it seems that about 500,000 divorced children suffer from the problem, mostly because of the custodial parent's mental disorder.

Why the Courts Are Failing To Protect Children from Child Abuse

Why the Courts Are Failing To Protect Children from Child Abuse

What is Parental Alienation? Joseph Goldberg is the Founder of The Canadian Symposium for Parental Alienation Syndrome (C.S.P.A.S.). He is also a consultant advising parents and Family Law lawyers in the matters that pertain to Parental Alienation child abuse.

You can hear Joseph Golberg's recent Radio Show on the Divorce Source Radio Network at the bottom of this article.

More than 500,000 children every year are being abused by a parent who gets away with it, largely because it is a form of emotional abuse that's difficult to detect. Part of the problem is that there are very few mental health professionals that specialize in this sub - speciality of psychology. The type of abuse that I'm referring to is called Parental Alienation (also identified as Parental Alienation Syndrome and if it's included in the next edition of the American Psychiatric Associations DSM V - the term will be referred to as Parental Alienation Disorder.) Although P.A. is measured on a scientific scale ranging from mild to moderate to severe, the effects are so serious a child can experience a lifetime of adult problems and never recognize that they were essentially brainwashed. In addition, P.A. also involves the innocent parent being accused of abuse by the child and the aligned parent.

What is Parental Alienation? According to the definition in Wikipedia. Parental alienation is a social dynamic, generally due to divorce or separation, when a child expresses 'unjustified hatred or an unreasonably' strong dislike of one parent, making access / visitation by the rejected parent difficult or impossible. These feelings may be influenced by neg - ative comments by the other parent and by the characteristics, such as lack of empathy and warmth, of the rejected parent. The term does not apply in actual cases of real abuse when the child rejects the parent to protect themselves.

The only way to stop parental alienation is to validate that it is going on. This requires a Court Appointed Psychological Evaluation, which may cost anywhere from $5,000 - $10,000 to conduct and when someone is able to afford to pay for this evaluation it is still up to a Judge to follow a list of recommendations made by the psychologist. Parents that have alienated children recognize the changes in their child's behaviour, but they do not identify the changes as P.A. simply because there isn't any public education about this childhood condition, in fact, most parents end up learning about P.A. by reading the psychological literature online.

What should a parent do if they believe that Parental Alienation is going on? How can the litigation expenses be afforded to protect the child? Who are the doctors that specialize in this field of psychology, and how do I select one of these doctors to do an evaluation? Is there a way for a doctor to reverse the effects of parental alienation and help the child to rebond their relationship with the targeted parent? How does a parent in this situation find a lawyer that is experienced enough to represent them in a case of parental alienation? What can a parent do if they have zero funds to litigate, is there still a way to fix these problems? These are a few of the most commonly asked questions of parental alienation expert Joseph Goldberg a consultant who helps parents and family law lawyers to effectively litigate or settle these problems through court intervention.

The website for his consulting practice is In addition to his work as a consultant, Joseph Goldberg is also the Founder of the Canadian Symposium for Parental Alienation Syndrome - C.S.P.A.S. The CSPAS is an international organization helping Mental Health Professionals, Family Law Lawyers, Family Mediators, Child Abuse Investigators and numerous other professional's in better under - standing and assisting parents and children who are affected by parental alienation and parental alienation syndrome / disorder.

The website for this organization is

The CSPAS provides scientific data and updated educational information on the most effective clinical treatment solutions and procedures to obtain judicial intervention to assist children afflicted with PA and PAS / PAD. The CSPAS also provides a Free, Online Referral Service to anyone that needs a Mental Health Proffessional, Family Law Lawyer or Family Media- tor affiliated with its organization. All professionals affiliated with CSPAS have recevied a Certificate of Merit for updating their education and expert- ise in this field of study (along with Continuing Educational Credits).

Joseph Goldberg is also a public speaker and an educator. He has appear- ed on numerous radio shows. His organization held it's most recent confer- ence at the University of Toronto this last October 17th and 18th, 2010. In the spring of 2009 Mr. Goldberg organized the 1st International Conference on Parental Alienation Syndrome at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. This conference, was widely covered by the media and became the feature story on the front page of Canada's most widely circulated newspaper, the National Post (March 28, 2009).

Mr. Goldberg has been sought after for interviews with the CBC and many other news and media networks. He has published articles on the topic of Parental Alienation and his biography, which includes his first hand exper- ience with his own children afflicted with PA can be viewed on his website. We are pleased to post Mr. Goldberg's most recent radio show interview with Divorce Source Radio online for all of our divorced parents to learn a little more about what to do if they are experiencing these problems, or if they know of someone that could benefit from listening to this program.

We would welcome your comments on this article, email Wikizine at: