What on earth does this have to do with me & my husband; Amber, Nikki or type 1 diabetes - well, nothing. Honestly, it is a subject that I have been researching for some classes I'm taking. I felt that the article(s) were very informative and simply wanted to share some of what I've found. I think the subject is a serious one and one that will hopefully gain more attention as more research is done.
What is Parental Alienation Syndrome?
Richard A. Gardner, M.D., first introduced Parental Alienation Syndrome, or PAS, in 1985 as a way to describe what he refers to as a "cluster of symptoms" present in children who, during the process of a child-custody dispute, reject one parent as a direct result of strong, negative claims introduced by the other parent.
In addition, in cases of true Parental Alienation Syndrome, the negative propaganda that is being introduced to the child by the alienating parent is not substantiated by the alienated parent's behavior prior to the dispute. In many PAS cases, the child enjoyed a warm, vibrant relationship with the alienated parent prior to his or her parent's divorce.
Another notable distinction in true cases of Parental Alienation Syndrome is the idea that the child so strongly adopts the alienating parent's point of view that he or she begins to vilify the alienated parent independent of the alienating parent.
Alienated vs. Estranged
Children who are estranged from one parent are typically not victims of PAS. In many cases, when a child is estranged from a parent, that parent chooses (perhaps for a variety of reasons) not to be involved in the child's life.
Alternatively, there are also situations where an older child may be estranged from a parent due to that parent's own behavior. For example, a child whose mom is an alcoholic might choose not to participate in unsupervised visitations. This is not an example of PAS, however, because there is a valid reason for the child to resist contact.
Substantiated cases of abuse - whether emotional, physical, or sexual - should be differentiated from cases of PAS as well. When there is abuse, it is reasonable for the child to reject the parent. Therefore, it does not constitute a true example of PAS.
PAS Should be Considered When a Child Consistently, and Without Reason:
Denigrates, belittles, or disparages the parent
Appears unable to distinguish lies from the truth in regards to the parent
Unjustly hates the parent
Defames the parent with invented stories and lies
Uses inappropriate language to deride the parent in public
Views the parent as singularly bad; sees nothing good in the parent in question
Shows extreme resistence to seeing or maintaining contact with the parent
Degrees of PAS
Parents who contribute to Parental Alienation Syndrome do so to varying degrees. Mild alienation may be perpetrated by a parent who avoids conflict with the other parent and allows pent-up anger and resentment to spill over to the children. Moderate alienation may be perpetrated by a parent who is extremely angry with his or her ex-spouse, but lacks the self-control to manage his or her own behaviors. Thus, the child becomes indoctrinated in the same anger and resentment. In both mild and moderate forms, the alienators may not intend to cause harm to the child's relationship with the alienated parent and usually responds positively to education.
In cases of severe alienation, though, it is more difficult to change the alienator's behaviors. He or she truly believes that the child is better off without the other parent, intentionally withholds the child from the other parent, and purposely uses his or her influence to destroy a once-positive relationship between the child and the alienated parent. (Wolf, 2009)
Gardner's definition of PAS is:
"The parental alienation syndrome (PAS) is a disorder that arises primarily in the context of child-custody disputes. Its primary manifestation is the child's campaign of denigration against a parent, a campaign that has no justification. It results from the combination of a programming (brainwashing) parent's indoctrinations and the child's own contributions to the vilification of the target parent." (Excerpted from: Gardner, R.A. (1998). The Parental Alienation Syndrome, Second Edition, Cresskill, NJ: Creative Therapeutics, Inc.)
Basically, this means that through verbal and non verbal thoughts, actions and mannerisms, a child is emotionally abused (brainwashed) into thinking the other parent is the enemy. This ranges from bad mouthing the other parent in front of the children, to withholding visits, to pre-arranging the activities for the children while visiting with the other parent.
One criteria necessary for the detection of PAS is probably the least described or identified, but critically is one of the most important. It has to do with the existence of a positive relationship between the minor children and the now absent or nonresidential parent, prior to the marital separation; and a substantial deterioration, of it since then. Such a recognized decline does not occur on its own. It is, therefore, one of the most important indicators of the presence of alienation as well. as a full measure of its relative "success." By way of example, if a father had a good and involved relationship with the children prior to the separation, and a very distant one since, then one can only assume without explicit proof to the contrary that something caused it to change. If this father is clearly trying to maintain a positive relationship with the children through observance of visitation and other activities and the children do not want to see him or have him involved in their lives, then one can only speculate that an alienation process may have been in operation. Children do not naturally lose interest in and become distant from their nonresidential parent simply by virtue of the absence of that parent. Also, healthy and established parental relationships do not erode naturally of their own accord. They must be attacked. Therefore, any dramatic change in this area is virtually always an indicator of an alienation process that has had some success in the past (Boone & Walsh, The Florida Bar Journal, 2009, sic).