Sunday, November 1, 2009

Another Parental Alienation Syndrome Article

Mr Custody Coach raises some interesting points in his Parental Alienation Effects on Children - Parental Alienation Syndrome 

It’s a common story played out in court rooms all across the United States and beyond. What’s worse, misguided “special interest groups” have now shifted their tactics, replete with unsupported “statistics” which serve to allow parental alienation efforts to continue unabated. Their claims? Well, their claims are that abusive parents are using parental alienation syndrome falsely as a court room tactic and are highly successful in obtaining custody as a result. They support their allegations with bogus statistics that are completely without foundation and cannot be reasonably supported. This is easily seen with only a minimum of scrutiny. Unfortunately, the livelihoods of these special interests are predicated on keeping the family court system clogged with adversarial cases and the easiest way to do it is via parental alienation, false allegations of child abuse and domestic violence, all in an effort to win child custody. In their minds - an allegation = conviction of the targeted parent. No proof necessary here, folks. Scare tactics help keep the money flowing.
And then there is this:
Oddly enough, not only is this claim completely unsupported by any meaningful evidence, the experts never broach the subject of why so many of the alienated parents are fathers. While many would agree that in the teens, parental rejection can be a developmentally normal response - it’s not a gender-specific response according to any of the information we’ve read on the subject.

We know that the debate and discussion on whether or not parental alienation rises to the level of a mental illness or “syndrome.” Frankly, when it comes to child custody matters - it doesn’t matter to us one way or the other. One thing that we do know for sure is that children can be taught to hate just as well as they can be taught to love, to read, to do math, to play sports, to learn to dance, to speak a language, and so many other things in life. So, while the special interests can argue over whether or not this is a mental illness or not - we’ll focus on reality. The reality is that in the heat of a custody battle, a vindictive, malicious parent can teach children to hate the target parent - with tragic consequences.
I was involved in a situation where the non-custodial mother was seeing the effects of what amounted to PAS.  It may be that we will see more PAS claims where the custodial parent is the father but I am left wondering if PAS is not a more complicated thing than a mere psychological condition.

Mind you this is all Sunday morning speculation.  Why are we not more offended by parents who place their children in the middle of their divorce and post-divorce problems?  Do people not realize how ham-handed the legal system is for dealing with these sort of problems?  Is PAS a symptom of biology or of roles imposed by a cusotdy order?

Let me now mention what crossed my mind that led me to those questions.  What came to mind was Medea (and here is the sign of a liberal education) and what might be considered the earliest and most extreme form a mother alienating her children:


                                       This is the day, it seems,                              1450

      the god tightens trouble around Jason,
      and justly so. Oh poor Creon's daughter,
      how we pity your misfortune. You're gone,
      down in Hades' home—the price you pay
      for marrying Jason.


      I've made up my mind, my friends.
      I'll do it—kill my children now, without delay,
      and flee this land. I must not hesitate.
      That will hand them over to someone else,
      to be slaughtered by a hand less loving.                                       1460

      No matter what, the children have to die.
      Since that's the case, then I, who gave them life,                                [1240]

      will kill them. Arm yourself for this, my heart.
      Why do I put off doing this dreadful act,
      since it must be done? Come, pick up the sword,
      wretched hand of mine. Pick up the sword,
      move to where your life of misery begins.
      Don't play the coward. Don't remember now
      how much you love them, how you gave them life.
      For this short day forget they are your children—                        1470

      and mourn them later. Although you kill them,
      still you loved them. As a woman, I'm so sad.                      

And what can we can make of all this?


Lexi said...

"Is PAS a symptom of biology or of roles imposed by a custody order?"

Great question! I'm going to have to think on this, at first glance I think it's a combination, but there are certainly clients I can think of where PAS was present before the divorce.

Sam Hasler said...

I am following up on this on 12/11