The effects of divorce on society are far reaching, and long lasting. They are not what many would think, such as a drain financially on society, and the welfare system. There are huge impacts psychologically for all parties involved; the children, wives, and husbands. Although there are some instances where divorce is the only way to provide stable homes, such as high conflict rates, there are others where the children would benefit more if the parents worked on the relationship, such as low conflict rates. Although there will always be divorce, one of the lesser known side effects of divorce can be avoided, and possibly stopped. This is a horrible and completely avoidable occurrence, Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS, Parental Alienation). This does not just an affect from divorce, it is in the courts that involve any kind of child custody, but it is very prevalent in divorces. Child custody rates in the US are seen below, Parental alienation affects about 60-90 percent of child custody battles (NY Magazine, Harris). Parental Alienation is when a parent programs the child/children against the other parent, usually during and after divorce in order to influence custody. This will usually result in the loss of the relationship between the non- custodial, “target” parent, and the child/children, and the relationship with the target parent’s extended family. There are a list of symptoms/signs, they are: “1. The Campaign of denigration
2. Weak, frivolous and absurd rationalizations for denigration 3. Lack of ambivalence
4. The “independent thinker phenomenon”
5. Reflexive support of the alienating parent in parental conflict 6. Actions of guilt over cruelty to and/or exploitation of the alienated parent 7. The presence of borrowed scenarios
8. The spread of animosity to the extended family and alienated parent” (Parental Alienation, Lowenstein) The cause of parental alienation is a simple one; basically the custodial parent wants the child/children to have nothing to do with the target parent. Generally they do this because of jealousy, spite, or to get even for the divorce. The custodial parent will do anything to poison the child’s mind against the target parent, though it may seem to work, in the long run there are lasting repercussions for both child, and their relationships with both parents. The rates of parental alienation varies from source to source from levels as high as 90 percent (NY Magazine, Harris) to as to as 30 percent (Phoenix Magazine, Bommersbach). What seems to be the most accurate it the rate of 50 percent or more (NY Magazine, Harris). In the last several last decades’ rates have increased, and there also seems to be a correlation with high profile divorces, especially those that have rich clients (NY Magazine, Harris). There has also been a lot of research into which parent tends to be the aggressor in these cases, and which the Target parent is. Although in past decades it was usually the wife, with rates up to 90 percent (Gardner), as the aggressor, in the last three decades the numbers have evened out to about 50/50, husband, wife ratio as the aggressor. The cause of Parental Alienation varies from case to case, but all the reasoning in the world does not seem to justify it. There are instances where researchers have said that the alienating parent is sociopathic, and that their children eventually show the same behaviors. The alienator shows that much of a complete lack of emotion when dealing with the target parent and their emotions (Steinberger). In most instances the custodial parent alienates the child from the Target parent as punishment, simply to hurt them with no regard for how the child is affected. In other cases the custodial parent truly believes that the other parent is unsuitable, although there was never a problem in the past. Some parents only start alienating when their exes start new relationships, or their exes new...
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Harris, Chris. "Robert Wallack: Raising Awareness of Parental Alienation in Family Law Cases." New York Magazine (2011).
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Ph.d, Ludwig F. Lowenstein. "Problems suffered by Children due to the effects of Parenta Alienation Syndrome." Justice of the Peace 166.24 (2002): 464-466.
Steinberger, Chaim. "Father? What Father? Parental Alienation and Its Effect on Children." NYSBA Family Law Review spring 2006: 10-22.
Tyler, Tracey. "Mom loses custody for alienating dad." The Star (2009).
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