Friday, March 14, 2008

Misinformation and the Critics

One of the most mysterious and vexing issues related to the subject of Parental Alienation, as especially Parental Alienation Syndrome, is the continued criticisms of it. In most cases, the criticisms are based in misinformation. One of the most prevalent of these notions is that Parental Alienation is used as a shield to deflect from the abuse of a child by a parent. This is simply not the case. It is repeated throughout the literature (even by sources that disagree on other matters related to the subject) that Parental Alienation is not a proper explanation for a child’s not wanting to see a parent, when that parent has truly been abusing that child. When this is the case, Parental Alienation is not the proper explanation. That said, it is also the case that Parental Alienation may be misused by unethical attorneys and abusive parents, claiming that their abused child does not want to see them, not because they have been abused, but because of the influences of the other parent. This is a clear misuse of the Parental Alienation label. This misuse however should not be used as a rationale to dismiss it legitimate use.

Other such criticisms follow this same pattern of misunderstanding and misuse of the literature related to Parental Alienation. I would like to draw attention to an article authored by myself that addresses this in more detail. It may be found on my website or by the following link

I have found that when the criticisms are confronted, that the critic has not read that to which they are referring, or that they had simply been told this misinformation by someone else, who also had not read the source material. This is a troubling, but common finding. It should not perhaps be surprising to find that the dynamic of vilification and distortion is well practiced within this context.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for clarifying the terms Parental Alienation and Parental Alienation Syndrome.

To choose to deny or diminish existence of alienating behaviors and the effects they can have on children, because they have the potential to be misrecognized in courts, is like choosing to deny medications to a patient because they have the potential to be misused.

The answer lies, not in denial, but rather in education and awareness.

Robin Denison

J Michael Bone, PhD said...

Thank you. I completely agree.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for writing this. I am involved in family violence education and support and I consider it very unfortunate that one must "choose sides" between domestic abuse and PAS. Having experienced both, I know first hand that the two issues are not mutually exclusive. Abusers frequently use alienating tactics to destroy the other parent's relationship with the children as a way to continue the abuse!

Karen Branson

Anonymous said...

After 4 years of working with professionals in the court system and mental health field, I feel like quitting my job and helping everyone understand Pas and what it can do to a family. After finding mental health Professionals and attorneys who understand the phenomenon, I ran into the court system who could not understand at all. Unfortunately, they were the decision makers and I have lost my children to a blatant alienator.