One of the worse scenarios is when a child has to pick which parent he/she would rather live with. However, he/she may want to live with both, yet the child/children may not understand what mommy and daddy are doing. It can ultimately turn into the most miserable scenario for the entire family. Especially, when the child ends up with the parent he/she doesn’t want to live with. Naturally, the parent the child ends up living with may then begin to show signs of parental alienation. This is a redundant problem, and all too common when both parents are transitioning to a new life as they separate. (Source: Psychology.com)
Whether legally married or not, in most cases, there is often bitterness during an extended child custody battle and parental alienation syndrome can affect the parent being targeted.
Do fathers go through this more than mothers?
In January 27, 2009, a court in Toronto, Canada, awarded full custody of three sisters between the ages 9 through 14, to their father, after a long-term parental alienation campaign by their mother. She dedicated her life for years to brainwash them in order to hate their father.
Judge McWatt, the Superior Court of Justice, found the mother as emotionally abusing the children by way of brainwashing them to hate. In Canada, this constitutes emotional child abuse. Judge McWatt banned the mother from all further contact with the children except for counseling programs. The children had to go through counseling to recover from parental alienation syndrome in which the mother had to attend also (Source).
The United States and Canada’s courts systems, as well as in multiple countries, have consistently viewed parental alienation as child abuse.
However, handling cases like this are courts which have been wrong with the alienating parent; and yet others have shown “unending tolerance for the alienation campaign.”
Courts contribute to the abuse
Consequently, the courts are directly contributing to child abuse because of the parental alienation. There are feelings of mistrust, bitterness towards the other parent, the court system, the government…etc. but with all this being too common, both the children and the alienated parent suffer evidently.
Comparably, the emotions which come with the divorce situation are the co-parenting relationship. At the end of the day, efforts to co-parent eventually smooth out with less anger and emotions. In return, co-parenting becomes healthier and more productive for the children as well. And so, when a child is acting against the targeted parent, he/she may be getting brainwashed by the other parent, bottom line. Normally it takes place when one parent unduly influences the child to respond to the other parent in a consistently negative manner. In fact, there may be no signs of abuse or harmful and destructive parenting behaviors. What’s worse is when the “targeted parent” is supporting the child financially and is still alienated from the child’s life.
Four of these behaviors are:
- Not informing and excluding the targeted parent from the child’s activities, parent/teacher conferences, birthdays, religious events, graduations, etc.
- Sabotaging and interfering with visits or not permitting visits at all.
- Programming the child against the targeted parent by belittling, criticizing, and deprecating the targeted parent in the child’s presence.
- Depriving the targeted parent of important information about the child, including but not limited to medical, educational, and social activities.
As result of the four behaviors mentioned above: The intense emotions can even erupt while legal proceedings are taking place. Many parents will experience hurt and aggravation within the parent-child relationship after this. Even more, some parents can become outraged, harmful, and destructive which may lead to the child/children “breaking away” from both parents. When harmful or destructive behaviors are shown in front of the child/children, it will lead to the child distancing themselves from both parents. In contrast, true parental alienation takes place when one parent unduly influences the child. Despite no evidence of abuse, destructive or harmful parenting behaviors, the alienated parents still gets the “wrong end of the stick.”