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Dr. Barbara-Jo Fidler’s is a nationaly recognized psychologist and expert in the field of parental Alienation. She has testified as an expert witness in many custody cases and has collected the list below from a cross section of literature on the subject. The list is not exhaustive and not all the behaviours need to present in order for the harm to the child be found.

Pathological Alienation:

Warning Signs of Behaviour Exhibited by Child, Alienating Parent and Rejected Parent, which is reproduced below.

Child Behaviours:

        View of parents one-sided, all good or all bad; idealizes one parent and devalues the other

        Vicious vilification of target parent; campaign of hatred

        Trivial, false and irrational reasons to justify hatred

        Reactions and perceptions unjustified or disproportionate to parent’s behaviours

        Talks openly to anyone about rejected parent’s perceived shortcomings

        Extends hatred to extended family and pets (hatred by association)

        No guilt or ambivalence regarding malicious treatment, hatred, etc.

        A stronger, but not necessarily healthy, psychological bond with alienating parent than with rejected parent

        Anger at rejected parent for abandonment; blames him/her for divorce

        Speed is brittle, a litany; obsessed; has an artificial quality; affect does not match words; no conviction; unchildlike, uses adult language; has a rehearsed quality

        Stories are repetitive and lacking in detail and depth

        Mimics what siblings report rather than own experience

        Denial of hope for reconciliation; no acknowledgement of desire for reconciliation

        Expresses worry for preferred parent, desire to care for that parent; or, defensive denial that child is indeed worried about parent

 

Alienating Parent Behaviours:

        Allows and insists that child makes decisions about contact

        Rarely talks about the other parent; uninterested in child’s time with other parent after contact; gives a cold shoulder, silent treatment, or is moody after child’s return from visit.

        No photos of target parent; removes reminders of the other parent

        Refusal to hear positive comments about rejected parent; quick to discount good times as trivial and unimportant

        No encouragement of calls to other parent between visits; rationalizes that child does not ask

        Tells child fun things that were missed during visit with other parent

        Indulges child with material possessions and privileges

        Sets few limits or is rigid about routines, rules and expectations

        Refuses to speak directly to parent; refuses to be in same room or close proximity; does not let target parent come to door to pick up child

        No concern for missed visits with other parent

        Makes statements and then denies what was said

        Body language and nonverbal communication reveals lack of interest, disdain and disapproval

        Engages in inquisition of child after visits

        Rejected parent is discouraged or refused permission to attend school events and activities

        Telephone messages, gifts and mail from other parent to child are destroyed, ignored or passed on to the child with disdain

        Distorts any comments of child that might justify accusations

        Doesn’t believe that child has any need for relationship with other parent

        When child calls and is quiet or non-communicative, parent wrongly assumes pressure from target parent, or that child is not comfortable with target parent; evidence of bad parenting; does not appreciate that child is uncomfortable talking to alienating parent about target parent

        Portrays other parent as dangerous, may inconsistently act fearful of other parent in front of child

        Exaggerates negative attributes of other parent, and omits anything positive

        Delusional false statements repeated to child; distorts history and other parent’s participation in the child’s life; claims other parent has totally changed since separation

        Projection of own thoughts, feelings and behaviours onto the other parent

        Does not correct child’s rude, defiant and/or omnipotent behaviour directed towards the other parent, but would never permit child to do this with others

        Convinced of harm, when there is no evidence

        False or fabricated allegations of sexual, physical and/or emotional abuse

        Denigrates and exaggerates flaws of rejected parent to child

        Says other parent left “us”, divorced “us” and doesn’t love “us”

        Over-involves child in adult matters and litigation

        Child required to keep secrets and spy or report back on other parent

        Child required to be messenger

        Overt and covert threats to withdraw love and affection from child unless other parent is rejected

        Extreme lack of courtesy to rejected parent

        Relocation for minor reasons and with little concern for effects on child

 

Rejected Parent Behaviours:

        Harsh, rigid and punitive parenting style

        Outrage at child’s challenge to his/her authority

        Passivity or withdrawal in face of conflict

        Immature, self-centred in relation to child

        Loses temper, angry, demanding, intimidating character traits, but not to level of abuse

        Counter-rejecting behaviour

        Lacks empathic connection to child

        Inept and unempathic pursuit of child, pushes calls and letters, unannounced or embarrassing visits

        Challenges child’s beliefs and/or attitudes and tries to convince them otherwise

        Dismissive of child’s feelings and negative attitudes

        Induces guilt

        May use force to reassert parent position

        Vents rage, blames alienating parent for brainwashing child and takes no responsibility