Child custody disputes have become increasingly common.
As the frequency of child custody disputes has increased,
so has the animosity and antagonism parents bring to these
Often children are caught in the middle of parental
disputes and are enlisted by one parent as an ally against
the other parent in a campaign of systematic denigration
and alienation of affection.
Often one parent will make vicious and devaluing
statements that are designed to thwart one parent's
relationship with his/her child.
Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) is the systematic
denigration by one parent by the other with the intent of
alienating the child against the other parent. The purpose
of the alienation is usually to gain or retain custody
without the involvement of the father. The alienation
usually extends to the father's family and friends as
This condition arises as a distinctive form of
psychological injury to children in high conflict divorce.
It occurs when the child becomes aligned with one parent
as a result of the unjustified and/or exaggerated
denigration of the other parent.
This leads to an impaired relationship with the
alienated (target) parent and an absolute loss of
parenting as a result of the hostility of the parent
producing the alienation.
In most cases of high conflict divorce, there are
degrees of alienation. In severe cases, the child's once
love-bonded relationship with the target/rejected parent
The following are some links to PAS resources:
- Parents Who Have Successfully Fought Parent
by A. Jayne Major, Ph.D. from her website
This article is a FABULOUS summary of PAS that is very
readable and complete. It is, seemingly, only
published on her website that is providing information
about her parenting course to potential instructors
but, because it was so good I have reformatted it and
added it to our collection. (It was so good I was
ready to sign up for the course!) This document is
also available in PDF format.
- What you do and donít do when as a loving
parent you are confronted with a severe case of PAS in
by William Kirkendale (reformatted from a web page
Mr. Kirkendale is a father with a child he has not
seen for a considerable length of time, and he has put
together a list of some of his DO'S and DONTS that
many of us have learned to late. Some of his
suggestions, especially about approaching the court or
accessing the media, are not particularly appropriate
in Canada but the underlying fire is right on target.
Mr. Kirkendale maintans a web site at www.familycourts.com.
This document is also available in PDF format. Family
Therapy of the Moderate Type of Parental Alienation
Syndrome by Richard A. Gardner from The American
Journal of Family Therapy. 27:195-212, 1999. This
article is a GREAT outline of therapy for the moderate
case of PAS that deals with the very specific and
knitty-gritty things that the courts and the
therapists must do if the therapy is to work. This
document is also available in PDF format.
- Questioning the Mental Health Expert's Custody
by Ira Daniel Turkat, Ph.D
from the American Journal of Family Law, Volume 7,
This article is not specifically about PAS. However,
it is an EXCELLENT article to look at when you are
selecting an assessor or an expert in a legal case. I
wish selecting an expert was easy - this article does
give you some suggestions that are extremely relevant.
This document is also available in PDF format.
- Dr. Richard A. Gardner, M.D., who initially derived
the name Parental Alienation Syndrome put out a flyer
(also in PDF format to advertise his book The Parental
Alienation Syndrome: A Guide for Mental Health
Professionals and Legal Professionals (available
through his website at www.rgardner.com).
The flyer had a number of very interesting and useful
attachments that contain some basic information on
Article is based on Parental