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The Dangers of Parental Alienation

While you may chuckle at Alec Baldwin's self deprecating humor through his Capital One commercials, you may also remember his infamous 2007 voicemail rant. His frustration was pop-culture fodder for how parents should never act towards their children, and how Hollywood actors sometimes fail as parents.

However, some  viewed Baldwin as yet another parent succumbing to the frustrations of parental alienation syndrome (PAS); a psychological disorder where a child rebels against a parent because of the other parent's attempts to sabotage their relationship. While PAS has not been officially recognized by the American Psychiatric Association as a mental disorder, it is a condition that commonly affects non-custodial parents and perplexes family courts.

Child psychologists and therapists see some of the following PAS "symptoms" in high conflict divorces:

- The alienating parent blames the other parent for their (or the family's) struggles, and conveys this to the children. (e.g. Daddy left us because he didn't care enough about you. Or, I can't take you to soccer practice because mommy didn't pay for the league).

- The alienating parent makes (or condones) false allegations of abuse towards the other parent.

- The alienating parent forces children to choose sides or is shamed by the alienating parent for supporting (or wanting to spend time with) the other parent.

By poisoning children with lies and innuendos, alienating parents can "legitimately" say that a child does not want to spend time with the other parent. More importantly, impressionable children form unjustified opinions about otherwise good and loving parents.

If you believe you are losing your children through parental alienation, an experienced family law attorney can advise you.

Source: Today Media Network.com, Notes From a Single Mom: Parental Alienation-Are You Guilty of It?, October 20, 2012

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