Parental Alienation: The Blame Game

Consider this hypothetical family. A mother is an exclusive caretaker for the children. The father exhibits little interest in them.  He is a domestic tyrant mistreating both the children and their mother on nearly a daily basis. He invests nothing in the relationship with the children and all interaction is negative. Finally mom has enough and files a divorce. The children refuse to see their father.  As a result, dad accuses her of parental alientation and seeks custody.

Whether parental alientation is a clinical pathology or not, the fact remains that in some divorce cases, children refuse to have a relationship with one of their parents. Unfortunately, a new dynamic has taken hold in family court. The search for a lasting remedy is being disregarded in favor of the aggrieved parent’s exploitation of the tragedy to obtain custody. 

Nobody can blame a father for being angry when his child refuses to see him,  especially when the mother takes no pains to hide her animosity towards him.  But is he blameless if he never invested the time and effort in the relationship with the child prior to the divorce?  Or, even worse, what if he was emotionally or physically abusive to the child?  

Lex Familia’s experience is that children who have a good relationship with a parent prior to the divorce do not become alienated after the divorce.  This is not to excuse the reprehensible conduct of a parent so distraught by her own grief and anger that she tries to hurt dad through an overt campaign to destroy his relationship with the child.  But prevention is the best cure. Parents who have a firm bond prior to the divorce are rarely marginalized after the divorce.

Courts need to sensitize themselves to the incredible complexity of these situations. Coercion is not the solution, nor is automatic placement of the child with the alienated parent.  The conclusion that mom assumes all the blame if the children won’t see dad is naive and simplistic.  This is especially absurd if dad never established a meaningful relationship when he was living with the children.

People in divorce cases are often mercenary and will exploit even their own children to gain an advantage–real or imagined. Courts should realize that things are frequently not as they appear. A simplistic formulaic transfer of custody will not remedy this complicated problem. Unfortunately, too many custody cases are  about avoiding child support rather than quality parenting. In family court, there needs to be less emphasis on blame and more emphasis on solutions. Just as most states rejected fault in divorce cases, family courts should not become preoccupied with determining fault if a child becomes alientated. Instead, courts should consider this thorny issue with patience and wisdom,  acting as a healer, not an executioner.



Filed under Parental Alienation

4 responses to “Parental Alienation: The Blame Game

  1. a concerned friend in Florida

    The Justice System has got to stop and make the laws equal. My boyfriend has been in a messy divorce with 2 children for over 7 years. In that 7 years he has moved in to my home and helped me raise my child. He is a caring individual and my daughter loves him very much. On days I have seen my boyfriend fall on the floor and cry over his children. He has not seen his children in over 7 years, his children are not aloud to see him according to their mother. Parental Alienation is present in these children and the court system in Connecticut look the other way. He went to court in 2004 and explained to the Judge “T” that he was not seeing his children and the Judge told him that was not her problem. The Judge should have stopped the case and ordered an investigation into this problem that his ex-wife the childrenand him were going through. I feel that there should be laws against parents that do parental alienation to their children against the other parent. I believe it is the same as if you were to sexually abuse a child. My boyfriend has been accused of trying to kidnap his children whiling living in Florida. These accussations have got to stop and stop putting your children in the middle of your hatered. Children should know that both parents love them equally and there is a statement that is used and that is called “UNCONDITIONAL LOVE”.

    Please I wish that you would publish this. We hope that someday the children in this world will see the difference and stand up on their own two feet and tell the parent “NO”.

  2. amazed

    I am amazed at such statements. I had an incredibly strong bond with my children and they were heavily influenced by my former wife’s (and her families) alienation tactics. There are indications of severe emotional damage to my children due to the post separation alienation war that was waged. I would counter that the stronger the bond prior to forced separation from the children, the more damage that occurs. Imagine being a child that has a very strong bond with a parent. Now imagine being forced away from that parent (for years in some cases) and being told nothing but lies about the other parent on a daily basis. Try to picture a child of 2 – 7 years old being able to stand ground when a loving parent was removed from the child like a death had occurred. The child tends to cling harder to what is left, (the angry alienating parent) which is what makes the child so susceptible to manipulation.

  3. ktstanton

    The True Abuse/False Alienation Scam
    by Katie Stanton

    There are false allegations of fictitious syndromes going on all over the country and around the world. Horrifically abusive men, armed with lots of money, use false allegations of Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) as a strategy to annihilate their families.

    Instead of doing this physically, these abusers are using family court to inflict the damage. The men who claim to be “alienated” often will repeatedly call in false abuse reports on the mother, which is ignored in court proceedings and by the PAS-accusing evaluator.

    These same men will attempt to “coach” the child to say bad things and make false allegations against the mother. When the child reports the father for his abuse (including parental alienation tactics), the father falsely claims alienation by the mother. It is a reign of terror, with the child as the ultimate victim.

    There are some of the frequently elements of the abuse/false alienation scam. These behaviors often start during the relationship–they’re not something that occurs as a result of divorce, but instead are often the reason for the divorce. They are:

    Abuse frequently either begins or escalates during pregnancy.

    Abuse can be physical and/or sexual.

    Threatens to take the children if the victim mom leaves.

    Threatens the life of the mom and/or children.

    Extremely emotionally abusive and controlling.

    Coercive control is constant.


    Harassment by any means possible, phone, email or any other means of communication. Communications are with the intent to inflict emotional distress.

    False accusations of infidelity.

    Interferes with wife/mom’s work.

    Keeps mom and kids from having friendships with other people, and relationships with her own family, wants to only be with his relatives and friends.

    Financial abuse (may incur bills and refuse to pay any, forces mom/wife to take on debt to keep family afloat while simultaneously undermining work of wife/mom).

    Wife/mom will try to get help for husband/dad, and NOT immediately leave. Wife/mom will refuse to prosecute, only to later have this be extremely detrimental.

    CPS involvement due to domestic violence and child abuse reports called in by people other than the mom. Mom will be terrorized with every report because she is at risk of losing kids to CPS.

    Abuse against child that child discloses to mom while still married or in relationship. Mom will choose to work with dad on this personally.

    Mom gets threatened by CPS with failure to protect while married or in relationship.

    Visitation may be stopped for valid reasons.

    Child is a pawn, the ways and means of continuing the abuse on the mother while inflicting great harm on the child.

    Child will often be abused in front of mother intentionally during exchanges.

    Child exchanges are just another opportunity to inflict harm on mom and child in any way possible. Calling all day, changing times, changing locations, repeatedly and obnoxiously.

    Father refusing to return child from visitation.

    Father will often have wealthy parents (and usually highly abusive and controlling father).

    Father’s parents will also engage in the terrorizing of mom and kids, and will also make threats and file false reports. Father’s parents function like tag team of bullies.

    Father will have visitation, then falsely claim that he was denied visitation. (Valid reasons for schedule changes are claimed to be “alienation.”)

    Father will receive phone calls, and school correspondence, then falsely claim that the calls were not long enough or meaningful enough, etc and that he did not receive ENOUGH information from school or may falsely claim that he received nothing when opposite is true.

    Mother will comply with every order in great detail, while father disobeys, but father will file for false contempt claim in order to commit custody exchange fraud.

    Father only needs to lie to psychologist, who then does nothing to corroborate any information, and psychologist will come to court and falsely accuse parental alienation without any evidence. Courts will listen to paid expert and vilify the protective parent to the delight of the abuser.

    Father is expert at “crazy-making” This behavior distorts reality and destroys the possibility of honest communication. This is a very effective device to increase confusion and insecurity in the victim. It also makes the victim mom have to continuously defend in court.

    In these cases, of course the child is fearful of the father. The children will be telling the truth, and the psychotic father is claiming they are lying. He forces the children to undergo evaluations and reunification therapy in efforts to have these psychologists “brainwash” the children into believing the father’s alternate version of realty.

    The children are tortured by unethical lawyers and psychologists profiteering off the case under the direction of the abuser dad, who is usually a very skillful and charming liar. The litigation will go on endlessly, as the protective parent desperately tries to shield the child.

    This tactic of the true abuser using false allegations of alienation is an extreme form of emotional battering, and is a way of continuing to inflict abuse. The child will resent the true abuser even more, because of the hell they are being put through in order to exact revenge on the mom. False allegation of this fictitious syndrome–Parental Alienation Syndrome–is a fraud and needs to be exposed.

  4. I am often searching for recent posts in the world wide web about this topic. Thankz!

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