Parental Alienation Syndrome

Parental Alienation Syndrome

Divorces can be extremely acrimonious and emotionally traumatic to not only the parties involved but also to the children that may be stuck in the middle of it all. The custody battles tend to have the most effect on the children at the center of the divorce because they must acclimate to a change of bedroom, to possibly a change in school, or even a change in city.

Custody battles tend to be just as difficult as the division of property between the two parents, and at times the court decides the custody arrangement based on the preferences of the children involved, especially when the kids are considered to be mature and able to weigh their options. Parents may attempt to take advantage of this situation through a tactic known as parental alienation, whereby a parent feeds negative opinions about their ex-spouse to the children in order to get the children to turn on that ex-spouse in favor of the other parent.

“Brainwashed” Children Sent to Juvenile Detention

In a recent case in Michigan, a judge held three children, aged 9, 10, and 15, in contempt of the court for not going to lunch with their father. The judge cited that she believed that the children had been “brainwashed” by the mother as part of a tactic of parental alienation and that the children’s refusal to spend time with the father was the result.

Parental Alienation Syndrome as a Classified Disorder

There are many in the family law field who are looking to solidify the impact that parental alienation has on children by providing that parental alienation should be admitted to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) as a mental health syndrome, whereby a child has negative associations with a parent due to a hateful relationship between the parents. Many believe that parental alienation is a form of abuse whereby one parent inspires fear and hatred in the child for the other parent. Because parental alienation syndrome has not been identified as a mental health disorder by the DSM-5, its ability to be used in family court is tenuous and dependent on the court’s belief on whether the disorder actually exists.

The Details of Parental Alienation Syndrome

Parental alienation is a strong tactic by parents during a custody dispute by attempting to “brainwash” the child into believing horrible things about the other parent so that the child will choose the other parent for full custody. Parents may also invoke the tactic for revenge, jealousy of the relationship that the parent has with the child or the parent has with another person, or fear of losing the child to the other parent because he/she may provide them with more comforts and child support, among other motivations. Generally, the younger the child, the more likely he/she is to be influenced by negative comments, experiences, and behaviors.

The Future of Parental Alienation Syndrome in Family Law Courts

Parental alienation, though recognized as a tactic, still does not have the statistics to back up its inclusion into the myriad of mental health disorders. Without proof of the disorder existing, it will be hard for parents to show its “symptoms” in court, and even more difficult to get an outcome in court that protects the child from this type of parental manipulation.

Experienced Family Law Attorneys in Mount Pleasant, Charleston Area

While parenting styles are fundamental rights, and up to the parent to decide how to raise his/her child, some tactics can create fear and hatred in the child that are emotionally traumatic. If you believe your ex-spouse’s parenting style is psychologically and emotionally damaging your child, it is important to speak with the experienced family law attorneys at Klok Law Firm LLC. Contact Klok Law Firm LLC today for an initial and confidential consultation.