Parental Alienation: What Can an Alienated Parent Do?

For starters, information is power. Here's good news on where to get it.

Posted Feb 27, 2018

(c) Bialasiewicz/fotosearch
Source: (c) Bialasiewicz/fotosearch

In my recent blogpost entitled Parental Alienation: What Is It? Who Does It? I mentioned that in my clinical practice I recently have had a run on cases of parental alienation syndrome.  A common theme has emerged.  That theme is the lack of support or justice that they receive from family courts. 

When one parent turns his or her children against the other parent via negative innuendos, false accusations and more, the children as well as the alienated parent suffer. Forensic psychologists appointed by courts, parenting coordinators, family law attorneys and judges however tend to be insufficiently informed, and often even misinformed, about parent alienation. Unfortunately, when professionals who are dealing with these issues in the courts and social services do not understand the situation, they add to the harm being done by the alienating parent. 

Progress

Miscarriages of justice within the family law system occur far too often. I was delighted therefore to hear recently of new resources emerging for parents whose children have been turned against them by a hostile spouse or ex-spouse.

One woman, Elaine Cobb, got the ball rolling.  Herself a victim first of parental and then grandparent alienation situations, Elaine initially launched a small program within her state of North Carolina.  Her goal: to make information about how to deal with an alienating situation more broadly available.

That program grew, and continues to grow.  Family Access - Fighting for Children's Rights now is nationwide and even international. 

Just this past week Elaine launched a new website filled with vital information and links to more.  Elaine would love your help if you can add to the resources she offers there.

In addition, Elaine reaches out to alienated parents and grandparents in need of support by hosting a free monthly educational telephone conference-call featuring leading experts on parental alienation.  She was joined, for instance, in March by two psychologists, Drs. Michael Bone and Robert Evans, co-founders of the National Association of Parental Alienation Specialists (NAOPAS).  This organization focuses on educating attorneys, judges, parenting coordinators, and mental health professionals.  Their hope is that with better understanding of parental alienation, psychological and legal professionals will become more able to assist unfairly alienated parents who want to regain a healthy parental relationship with their children.

On Sunday, June 3rd, at 8 PM EDT, the speaker for the monthly international  call will be Dr. Amy Baker.  Dr. Baker, an excellent psychologytoday.com blogger, will speak on the identification of alienation.

How can you participate in the next free international support conference call?

The conference calls are free to anyone who signs up in advance, that is, by 5:00 EST (East Coast time) the day of the conference.  To sign up, send an email to familyaccessinnc which is an aol dot com email address.  If you have signed up successfully, a return email will give you an access code.

The monthly conference calls are for victims of an alienating spouse, spouses who realize that they have  inadvertently been engaging in the syndrome, grandparents of children who are being alienated, and legal and other professionals who deal with these issues.

Individuals from 28 countries were among the over 1100 participants who too advantage of the most recent conference call.  My clients who struggle with alienating situations tell me that they very much appreciate both the information they receive from the calls and the connections with other parents who face similar challenges. 

What topics do parents and professionals who deal with parental alienation need to be informed on?

The following topics are some of the essential issues that these phone calls address.  I repeat it here because the list clarifies important issues that parents and grandparents who face alienation situations need to be aware of and informed about.

Defining Parental Alienation (PA)
How is it that Children can describe things that never occurred: the research
The empirically validated 17 alienating behaviors of alienating parents
Brainwashing techniques used by alienating parents
When children lie under pressure
Detection of PA
The progressive course of PA
Assessing Abuse allegations: false and actual
The alienated child’s fear of the alienating parent
Levels of Severity of PA
The 8 symptoms of PA
Estrangement vs Alienation
Consequences of PA
Treatment Programs
Why conventional therapy does not work
Strategic considerations for lawyers
Representing the Alienating Parent:  Ethical considerations
Representing the Targeted Parent:  Exposing the alienation
The various roles of various experts in PA cases
Critiquing misguided evaluations and evaluators
Critiquing misguided guardians

It is normal for parents, and grandparents, who face alienation situations to experience significant feelings of anxiety. 

Anxiety warns of problems ahead.  The key therefore to reducing anxiety is to mobilize  information-gathering and problem-solving.  Often, it is said, the best antidote to anxiety is information. Information is power. In addition, the other best antidote to anxiety is finding solutions.

Enter psychologytoday bloggers.

With regard to information, bravo to the bloggers on this website.  Several have written posts sharing much excellent information about parental alienation.  I particularly recommend the blogposts by psychologists Amy J.L. Baker and the posts by Edward Kruk.  Posts on this subject by Robert E. Emery and by Molly S.Costelloe also offer important perspectives.  The information all four of these psychologists share is first-rate.

Unfortunately, false accusations of parental alienation syndrome also can wreak havoc.  Too often, the pot calls the kettle black.  That is, alienating parents accuse the  healthier parent of doing alienating behaviors when they themselves are actually the perpetrator.  Posts on this website by Jennifer Baker address this sad situation.  Awareness of misuse of parental alienation terminology is as important as awareness of the syndrome itself.

Lastly, dealing with parental alienation can be extremely stressful.  You might want to use the techniques I suggest on my website prescriptionswithoutpills.com and in my Prescriptions Without Pills book to be sure that anxiety, anger and depression do not sap your emotional strength.

As Samuel Johnson once said:

“Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves, or we know where we can find information on it.”

On behalf of the children who become deprived of contact with one of their parents as well as on behalf of alienated parents and grandparents, I salute you Elaine Cobb and the bloggers who write about parental alienation on this psychologytoday website.

Another several important resources

Check out Simply Parent for more information and programs on parental alienation.  They also have a big conference coming up in Colorado on June 30 of this year. 

Also, this article on alienation has a particularly good graphic, plus a good response to those who oppose the use of the alienation term.  These hopefully can help you in court. 

One last thought

If you are struggling with an alienation situation, do not struggle on your own.  Connect with the many others in your same situation. You can help each other.

In unity there is strength. 

Be sure to read the following responses to this post by our bloggers: