Why Some Children Confess to Abuse that Never Happened

Amanda Sillars

Amanda Sillars

Parental Alienation | Resources | Research | Lived Experience Educator & Public See more See more
In this article “Interrogation Techniques, Mental Illness Are 2 Reasons Why People Falsely Confess To Crimes” we have adults confessing to things they haven’t done through highly aggressive forms of interrogation.
In parental alienation cases children often confess to things they never experienced because they are under the pressure of a parent who interrogates the child every time they see or hear from their other parent. The parent will often emotionally confide in the child, denigrate and undermine the other parent, use negative non-verbal responses and make the child believe the other parent is not a good parent, unsafe and/or dangerous. There are many parental alienation tactics. The alienator will often tell the child about adult matters like family court, child support, and things no parent should ever discuss with a child. The child may appear very mature for their age as a result.
The alienating parent will often lie about things that never happened like adding a nasty twist to real events to make them more believable. They can also use repetitive like statements like cult leaders use, to indoctrinate the child whilst keeping the child isolated from anyone who could tell the child the truth.
The alienating parent, with their distorted parenting communications, puts pressure on the child to give them answers whilst interrogating them, usually with leading or suggestible questions. “Did daddy (or mummy) hurt you… was he/she angry… did he/she touch you… did he/she say bad things about me?” The pressure is on for the child to say negative answers after every visit or every contact they have with the targeted parent. The child doesn’t understand why the same question or questions keep being asked. Does this mean they are not answering it correctly? Should they give a different answer? Under pressure the child gives in and tells the alienating parent what they think they want them to hear, even if it means lying. Otherwise the alienating parent will keep fishing for a different answer.

“Alienated children will go above and beyond to please their emotionally abusive parent. They can and will falsely confess to abuse that never happened, just to survive the interrogation and emotional pressure. They will often repaint history as being all bad with the targeted parent, when it wasn’t.”

You can imagine the drama that arises after a false confession of abuse. The alienating parent believes the story and magnifies the story. They will often make false claims of abuse in court, involve the police, take out restraining orders and report to child protection. The alienating parent tells everyone they come in contact with, other parents, friends, extended family, school teachers, GP’s you name it. The whole community ends up hearing about the alleged abuse or bad parenting of the targeted parent.
The child can become suppressed, their own thoughts and feelings discarded, and be like an emotional extension to their emotionally abusive parent, mirroring the alienators thoughts and feelings. The child is now a traitor, there is no backing out now. The stories become very real when they see the alienating parent’s response and so much emotion and drama they cause. The child eventually believes the targeted parent is a bad parent, who abused them and they end up fearing them. The child is so confused as all bad emotions are associated towards the targeted parent.
There is a serious problem with a large number of family court experts, psychologists, social workers and children’s lawyers who are handling these cases that are uneducated in parental alienation, and inexperience with interviewing children correctly. No understanding of the distorted parenting practices that go on, and the behaviours and parental alienation tactics of untreated personality disordered parents (or other severe mental illnesses), all which have a huge impact on children after divorce or separation, especially when there are residual feelings and the parent is untreated. There needs to be intervention to protect the children from further harm and the child should never be put in the position to choose between their parents.

We need court judges to step in and take the pressure off these poor children, instead of allowing one parent to erase the child’s other parent.

The alienated child will grow up in complete emotional turmoil. Many professionals making the situation much worse as they get emotionally drawn in to the alienators believable stories and a child in crisis. Some professional will help the alienating parent keep the story alive, unintentionally or intentionally by the ones that gain financially from knowing the difficulty of handling these cases and then drawing them out. Paid by the hour and not by the outcome.
The child will grow up in an emotionally abusive home with a distorted view of the parent they once loved. The child no longer gets to see their good loving parent that has done nothing wrong. The child will grieve and feel guilty every day for the targeted parent, and not realise the anger and sadness is a result of the manipulation.
All people see and hear is a child rejecting a parent but they need to look deeper, especially when there is no evidence of abuse by the targeted parent, and there was once was a loving relationship. Then look who is hiding behind the child acting like they are the protective perfect parent.
Alienated children are often interviewed and or interrogated by school teachers, school psychologists, social workers, children’s lawyers, private psychologists, police and then single experts witnesses after months or years of manipulation. In a case I attended as a support person for a mother with the management of child protection in Melbourne I noted down that the children were interviewed by over 18 people in the absence of any objective evidence of abuse. They also stated “children do not lie,” despite a plethora of research showing that children can and do lie. They were also in complete denial that there is such a thing called parental alienation.
The alienated child will mourn every day for a parent they no longer see. They are confused with the conflicting emotions and thoughts, it is like a computer virus in their mind. No one there to restore and reload healthy thoughts, no support and no tools to cope.
Parental Alienation is emotional child abuse.
#emotionalabuse #suggestibility #manipulation #EMMMFoundation
Links to current research: Parental Alienation academic articles
Links to 3 important related studies: Mousetrap Study The Little Albert ExperimentStill Face Experiment