Author unknown. Thanks to Darren for posting this.
“Of course I am encouraging the children to spend time with you. I want them to see you, but they just don’t want to… and I can’t force them.”
This is typically what most alienating parents say to the other parent, and sadly many judges and professionals don’t realise what is going on behind the scenes in these families, because they are not educated in parental alienation. All they see is a child rejecting a parent, and lots of unsubstantiated claims of bad parenting and/or abuse.
They need to look deeper… a parent emotionally confiding in their children about adult subjects like their feelings about the other (targeted) parent, information on court proceedings, financials, child support and using the child as an emotional confidant. They will often disclose very private things about the targeted parent to the children and make them feel like an adult. The child is so informed and is encouraged to make very adult decisions, they can appear to be very mature when they present in therapy.
The alienating parent subtly denigrates the targeted parent in front of the children, although they say they never talk bad about the other parent, when in fact they do. They will often say that the targeted parent denigrates them (projection). If they repeat it often enough to the child, the child begins to believe it. The repetitive comments are very much like a cult leader programs their followers. Say it enough, like the times tables in primary school, and it will become ingrained and accepted.
The alienating parent has no regard for the targeted parents parenting skills or rules and they will encourage the children to be defiant towards the targeted parent. Everything the targeted parent does that is positive gets turned into something bad, and anything even minutely wrong gets blown out of all proportion. The alienating parent rewrites history to the child to portray the targeted parent as neglectful, a bad parent and/or abusive. Children in these situations are often put under so much pressure or interrogated for information, they will begin to accept the false narrative and tell lies just to take the pressure off them and please the alienator.
Whenever the targeted parent makes plans for something special, the alienator undermines it by arranging something even more impressive. The children are encouraged to show no interest and everything is kept secret from the targeted parent. Special events like award nights, school reports, medical records and the like are all kept from the targeted parent. Then the targeted parent is represented as not being involved or interested in the child’s life. Remember this happens to both mums and dads, all subtly and sinisterly erased from their children’s lives. Even friends and family associated with the targeted parent get badmouthed and erased.
If and when the child does happen to go and visit the targeted parent and they return having had a great time with their dad/mum, they see the alienating parent respond in a negative way by being angry, sad or displeased. Wanting to appease and make the alienating parent feel better the child will start changing their responses and tell the alienating parent they had an unhappy time with mum/dad just so they don’t get a negative response. Then the child is rewarded emotionally for saying they had had a bad time and criticising the other parent. Then the alienating parent will use this as ammunition to fire at the targeted parent and make comment about it whenever the targeted parent want’s to see the child again.
“I know you don’t like spending time with mum/dad. You don’t have to go if you don’t want to. I am not going to force you to do anything you don’t want to.”
So it is no wonder the child doesn’t want to go and visit their other parent. Oh, but they are trying! But they can’t force them to. Why would any child want to go and visit a so called bad or abusive parent, or visit a parent with an end result making the alienating parent all anxious, upset or angry? They don’t want (or simply can’t handle) the emotional pressure, so they push away the parent they least fear being rejected by.
The children spend their life trying to please their unhappy alienating parent, become very protective of them and push away a parent they love in order to make the alienator happier and not see them suffer. The alienator will often play the victim and they can come across as very believable. The child will even tell lies to protect the alienating parent if the alienator is accused of doing anything wrong. The child strongly asserts that the decision to reject the other parent is their own. This is what is known as the “Independent Thinker” phenomenon. The child will protect the alienating parent just like victims of cult abuse protect their leader. They are bonded to the abuser. The child is used as a human shield by the alienator.
The “Parental Alienation Handbook for Mental Health and Legal Professionals” has some very helpful questions the alienating parent should be asked in court. It is not the questions themselves that are the emphasis here, but how the parents respond that will reveal a lot about their influence.
1. Are you concerned about your child not going on visits?
2. How have you changed your conduct when you see your encouragement is not working?
3. What have you done differently to show your concern?
The focus of the questions is: guidance – boundaries – incentives – consequences.
a. Guidance – ask the parents to tell the court (put this on the record), “What guidance do you give to your child about the other parent?”
b. Boundaries – ask, “What boundaries are in your household, what do you do when they are broken, what are the rules of the household?”
c. Incentives – ask, “What incentives do you have for doing chores, and so on?” then ask, “What incentives do you give your child to go on visits?”
d. Consequences – ask, “What are the consequences in your household for low grades, not cleaning the room, and so on. What are consequences if you child does not go on the visits?”
What you want to look for: They are either lying about their good faith efforts to foster visitation or they are a completely ineffective parents. It may be that unless there is a transfer of custody, the situation cannot be turned around.
Order transcripts that document the case if necessary. It is important that the next judge see it before alienators have a chance to clean up their testimony.
So next time you hear a parent say, “I am trying to encourage the child to see their other parent”… think again and consult this list of detection factors of brainwashed children.
1. Contradictory statements;
2. Inappropriate and unnecessary information;
3. Character assault;
4. Collusion or one-sided alliance;
5. Child becomes ‘spy’ or conduit of information;
6. Use of indirect statements;
7. Restrictions on permission to love or be loved;
8. Un-childlike statements;
9. Good parent versus bad parent;
10. Comparative martyr role;
11. Fear of contact with the other parent;
12. Anxiety arousal;
13. Cohort in secret keeping;
14. Child appears as mirror-image of programmer;
15. Confusion of a birth parent’s importance;
16. Manifestation of guilt;
17. Scripted views;
18. Unmanageability for no apparent reason;
19. Radical changes and dysfunctional behavior manifested in other spheres;
20. Nonverbal messages;
21. Coaching behavior;
22. Brain twirling;
23. Child threatens parent;
24. Child as parent’s best friend;
25. Physical survival.
Alienated children need authorities to step in and take the pressure off them. They should never be coerced, brainwashed, manipulated or forced to choose one parent. Or be denied the guidance, affection and love of a parent. Children have to live with this guilt for the rest of their lives.
In everyone’s efforts to protect children, women and men from physical and sexual abuse, we must not forget those children who suffer in silence with emotional abuse of parental alienation.