By Kiran Thomas, CAFE Volunteer

Prevention is critical as it is easier to stop children from becoming alienated than it is to undo the alienation once the children have adopted false ideas and feelings about the rejected parent. For this reason, parents who are concerned about the use of alienation strategies on the part of the other parent should become educated as quickly as possible about different options for responding to parental alienation.

But in case PA occurs understand that, it takes a sophisticated mental health professional to be able to identify that PA is occurring. Most forensic evaluators such as psychiatrists and clinical psychologists have studied the disorder and are able to recognize it.

Forensic evaluators diagnose PA by having the parents take a battery of psychological tests, doing a detailed case history and by observation. They make recommendations as to what to do. After the evaluator has written a report on the family and made recommendations, nothing will happen to resolve the crisis without court intervention.

The alienated parent has to take the report to a judge who must then be convinced that the child is being alienated and that it is not in their best interest to stay in such an environment.

It is rare however that judges have any degree of mental health training. They most often learn about PA from the bench. It usually takes several trips to court to point out how badly a child is being treated before a judge is willing to act.

As children get older, the alienation can be reversed with proper psychological care. However, it won’t work if the alienating parent is not contained. The child is at risk of growing up and being an alienator also, since the alienating parent has been the primary role model.

Sources:

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/co-parenting-after-divorce/201304/the-impact-parental-alienation-children

http://www.canadiancrc.com/Parental_Alienation_Syndrome_Canada/Parental_Alienation.aspx\

http://www.breakthroughparenting.com/PAS.htm