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Parents Who Have Successfully Fought Parental Alienation Syndrome

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

When parents are at war with each other over the custody of a child, this can cause a mixture of emotions. In the 1960s/1970s, women wanted to pursue working life and education more than ever. Therefore, feminists encouraged fathers to play a more active role in their children?s lives. However, there was still belief that the mother was the superior parent. When parents separated, fathers still wanted to have contact with their children however, the father had no legal rights of custody unless this was agreed by the mother. James Cook, the founder of the Joint Custody Association, created a better way of handling the problem on how to share custody. The aim was to reduce fights and help fathers in order to make it more equal. Within the 70s, the presumption of ‘mother knows best’ was replaced with ‘best interests of the child’.

In the 1980s, the gender of both parents was increasingly ignored in determining child custody. This meant mothers did not automatically have the right over the child. The court had the decision of how custody could be shared. If they did not come to an agreement, they would attempt to determinate which parent was more interested and better able to attend to the best interest of the child. With this in mind, fathers were determined to attend parenting classes. There was some progress of shared custody. However, when there was not a friendly resolution to custody, fathers found themselves with a greater opportunity to gain joint or primary custodial status by litigating (going to court). The stakes got even higher when the legal system was used to resolve these difficult problems. In extreme cases, the alienation of a child’s affection against a targeted parent became a bizarre escalation of the intensity of the conflict.

Who discovered Parental Alienation Syndrome?


In the 1980s, forensic
psychiatrist Dr Richard A. Gardner identified Parental Alienation Syndrome. He noticed what many others didn’t, one parent programming their child to alienate the other parent. Not only was the parent brainwashing the child, the child would contribute to support the alienation. Therefore, PAS is the new term that includes the contribution to the problem made by both the parent and the child. This is a serious matter that is still being researched/observed.

How common is PA and PAS?

When there is separation between father and mother, there is often parent alienation. The likeliness of the mother indirectly brainwashing the child against the father can be high. However, this can calm down in many cases once all parties are used to the changes. Although this can happen, in rare cases this can escalate. PAS parents can be defined as being psychologically fragile. It is when they feel threatened, they can become protective over what is ‘rightfully’ theirs.

How does the child get involved in PAS?

An important part of child development is to let the child become their own person and to let their independence grow. However, instead of promoting this independence, the parent who is pursuing alienation against the other parent encourages continued dependence on them. The parent can also dictate who he/she can or cannot see. In particular, other family members.

What can be done about the problem?

Forensic evaluators diagnose PAS by parents taking a psychological test. They then make recommendations as to what to do.

What is the best way to deal with PAS?
The parents who were successful in getting primary custody of their children in a PAS situation shared the following characteristics:

  • They completed a comprehensive parenting course such as Breakthrough Parenting, and stuck with it until they rated excellent in the knowledge, skills and methods taught. Their parenting skills became superior.
  • They were even-tempered, logical and kept their emotions under control. They never retaliated. A person who reacts in anger is proving the alienator’s point that he or she is unstable.
  • They certainly thought of giving up but never did. No matter how awful the harassment got, they worried about leaving their daughter or son in that environment. They were driven to continue trying to get the court to understand the seriousness of the issues and to change primary custody to them.
  • They were willing and able to go to the financial expense of seeing it through.
  • They got help from a skilled family lawyer who had experience with parent alienation syndrome.
  • They became good at understanding how the courts work and the law as it applied to their case.
  • They had a case where a forensic evaluator made a strong statement about the alienation and recommend changing legal and primary custody to the alienated parent. Some parents had to go back to the evaluator to demonstrate that his or her earlier recommendations were not working.
  • They persevered in demonstrating that they were rational, reasonable, and had the best interest of the child at heart.
  • They provided the court with an appropriate parenting plan that showed how the child would be well taken care of in their care.They understood the nature of the problem and focused on what to do about it, even though they and their children were being victimized. (Alienated parents who got caught up in “how terrible it all is” and spent time judging the situation, went under emotionally.)
  • They didn’t live a victim’s life.
  • They were proactive in seeking constructive action.
  • They avoided adding to the problem. One father expressed it like this: “I don’t know how to make it better with the mother, but I do know how to make it worse.” He was one of the most successful parents I met in fighting the PAS problem because he stayed in the role of the peacekeeper.
  • They kept a diary or journal of key events, describing what happened and when.
  • They documented the alienation with evidence that was admissible in court.
  • They always called or showed up to pick up their children, even if they knew that the children won’t be there. This was often very painful, but then they could document that they tried, when the alienator alleged that this parent had no interest in the child.
  • They focused on enjoying their children’s company and never talked to their children about their case. They always took the high road and never talked badly about the other parent to their children. They absolutely never showed a child any court orders or other sensitive documents. They didn’t let the children overhear inappropriate conversations on the telephone.
  • They didn’t violate court orders. They paid their child support on time and proved that they could live within the letter of the law.
  • They were truly decent, principled people. It was obvious that they loved their children.


2 responses to “Parents Who Have Successfully Fought Parental Alienation Syndrome”

  1. Jaw says:

    Great article, I am going threw this now and have for the last 4 years and still going threw it,even reports from casscaff and impact prove this yet why has none of this been seen as a blatant case of brainwashing my daughter is it not?

  2. Julie kellett says:

    We live in uk. We have had years of false allegations against us by my husbands ex, he has an 8 year old son to her who lives with us half the week. The case has been to court 4 times (as she continuously stops contact after child states he does not want to see us – out of the blue!) With court awarding us increased time each time. Recently she has stoppedal contact and alienated more untruths, she is brainwashing child against us. Court have ordered a section 37 as judge believes she is damaging her son. How do we convince social services of what is happebing? How do we prove alienation? Please help, so distressing!

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