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Parental alienation is defined as a mental condition in which a child—usually one whose parents are engaged in a contentious separation or divorce—allies themself strongly with the preferred (alienating) parent and rejects a relationship with the other (targeted) parent without legitimate justification.

– The mental component of this condition is a false belief that the rejected parent is evil, dangerous, or not worthy of love.
– The behavioral component of parental alienation is the firm, persistent rejection of a relationship with the targeted parent.

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Custodial Interference is a form of child maltreatment and a crime under family violence. Raising awareness about this issue can help reduce alienating behaviors, such as withholding and manipulating children.

Your help would be appreciated in sharing and promoting this campaign throughout the month of April.

The goal is to urge parents to contact their governmental representatives (state legislators in the U.S.) to ask them to take a stand against custodial interference in all its forms.

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Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS)

Parental alienation occurs when efforts are made to discourage a child’s attachment to a parent. This often occurs during acrimonious divorces, when one parent discourages the child/children from having a relationship with the other. Mechanisms often used to alienate the child/children are extremely harmful to children and include the following:

  • Slandering the other parent. This involves making deprecating statements about the other parent repetitively. This often includes fabricated information.
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So what accounts for the post-holiday divorce?

Why Does Divorce Spike In January?

According to experts, the biggest reason that divorces rise following the holidays is a desire for one person in the marriage to start fresh and begin another year with a clean slate.

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More and more, people in their 50’s and 60’s are recognizing that their marriage has broken down, the children are raised, and they are seeking a legal separation or divorce. In these cases, there are often retirement assets that need to be divided, and other assets, like a home, that need to be valued and the equity determined.  As many American are living into their 80’s and 90’s, many adults find that the want to re-engineer their last trimester of life and find a measure if independence and happiness. Jennifer Thompson wrote an essay that might be helpful to those considering divorce later in life. While written with a female reader in mind, the advice is sound and applies to both men and women in some respects.  From her bio: ” Jennifer Thompson was a financial advisor for over 20 years. Now, as an author and international speaker, she teaches women the techniques to develop a consciousness for abundance for a more compelling life. ”



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As the year 2020 comes to an end and a new year begins, it is always helpful to remember what approaches are helpful and uplifting when dealing with a stressful and difficult court case involving children, such as a parental alienation case or a child custody modification case.  One of my clients this week reached out to both myself and an excellent clinician that is supporting the case with a concern that her/his children are just so damaged, and so unruly in his time spent with them. Seeing the kids acting out, and suffering, causes my client to suffer, too.  Very positive steps are being accomplished in the case, and the clinical support has been excellent, but it’s still tough on parents that have to experience their kids in distress in the midst of parental conflict and the damage of an alienation campaign.  The following excerpt is excellent, and focuses on the need for parents to maintain a positive psychology in the midst of these court cases.


Sharon Stines, PsyD: No matter what is going on in your personal life, particularly with regards to the challenges you are facing with your co-parent and children, it can help to avoid expending all of your energy focusing on what doesn’t work. Maintaining a positive attitude can be difficult, but try to practice gratitude by waking up each morning and welcoming the day. Notice the good things you do have and keep in mind the things in life you are thankful for, instead of focusing on the negative.

Another helpful practice is demonstrating resilience and confidence each day to your children. You do this by living these values, by genuinely showing your children your strength and love for them. Children may naturally gravitate toward strength. If you can show yourself and your children unwavering and positive strength through the process of living well, you may be able to minimize any damage caused by the other parent. This may, in fact, be one of the most important things you do for your children in the long run.

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In divorce and coparenting, not only do parents need to deal with their own emotions, they may be faced with a daily barrages of hostile calls, texts, social media blasts, and/or emails. How can you regain a sense of control and peace for your own sake and for the kids?

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Characteristics of Narcissists in Divorce

1. He or she is in it to win it.

Even though there aren’t real “winners” in divorce—with luck, there’s some equitable splitting of responsibilities and assets—that’s not the narcissist’s point of view. He or she is likely to see himself or herself as a victim, regardless of the facts, and has no intention of meeting in the middle.

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The coronavirus crisis, paradoxically, may be an opportunity to find new sources of meaning. Psychological research on past financial disasters may offer guidance on how people will respond to the sudden economic calamity caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The COVID-19 crisis has shuttered businesses and led to massive numbers of layoffs nearly overnight. As of April 2, Americans filed a record-breaking 6.6 million unemployment claims in one week, according to the Department of Labor (PDF, 743KB)

The U.S. Federal Reserve estimated that 47 million people might lose their jobs in the second quarter of 2020, translating to a 32.1% unemployment rate. That would far overshoot the peak unemployment rate of the Great Recession (10% in October 2009, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics) and even of the Great Depression (24.9% in 1933).Despite differences between this economic crisis and previous recessions, psychological research can provide some insight into the behavioral and mental health impacts of financial loss. Key findings include:

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What is Parental Alienation?

Bernet et al (2010) considers a primary feature of parental alienation where a child whose parents are engaged in a high conflict divorce or separation allies himself or herself strongly with one parent while rejecting the relationship with the other previously loved parent without legitimate justification.

Parental Alienation

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