Parental Alienation in Abuse and Neglect Cases

During custody battles, emotions can understandably become quite charged.

Some parents – particularly those who lack effective coping skills and self-regulation – find themselves engaged in behaviors that are not exactly consonant with their better angels.

For instance, the other parent may not only invent false allegations about abuse or neglect, but may also recruit a child to be an accomplice to those stories. “Parent alienation” (also known as “PA” or referred to by some parents as “Parental Alienation Syndrome”) is the official, technical name for when a parent brainwashes a child to turn against another parent.

Identified and described in 1987 by Dr. Richard Gardner, Parental Alienation has been the subject of much discussion and debate. At first, many psychologists and other experts in the field refused to acknowledge the term, and some organizations, like the National Organization for Women (NOW) fought to prevent the latest Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) from including PA as a “syndrome”. Scholars such as Dr. Michael Bone, Dr. Douglas Darnall and Dr. Richard Warshak have all written extensively on the concept and its political implications.

How Parental Alienation Typically Works and What to Expect

In addition to planting stories in your child’s head that you committed abuse or neglect — or some other act of wrongdoing — the alienating parent may try to:

• Flout visitation orders and other court orders;

• Engage in persuasion to convince the child to withdraw from you or even hate you;

• Encourage the child to hate or disrespect your friends or family or anyone who associates with you; or

• Convince interested third parties, such as therapists and attorneys involved in a divorce, of lies about you.

For skillful, experienced assistance battling back against untrue allegations of child abuse or neglect, call the Williams Law Group, LLC immediately at (908) 810-1083.

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