The Smiths were married for 12 years and have 2 children, Jill who’s 12 and Ben who’s 10. Jill and Ben were happy kids who were never in trouble, did well in school and attended church on Sundays with their mom and dad. Most of the parents’ friends thought they were a happy couple. Dad did complain sometimes about financial pressures, supporting mom and the kids. He often worked late. Mom stayed at home looking after the kids and spent a lot of time with her family. She was lonely but knew life would be easier when she went back to work when the kids were older. Jill and Ben were very close to both mom and dad.
One night, after mom and dad argued, dad said he wanted out of the marriage. He had a female friend and was taking his things to her house. Mom was shocked and the kids, who overheard some comments, were crying. Dad said he would spend time with them 50% of the time. He also told mom to start working.
Before long, mom was taking the kids to her parents for dinner each night, crying all the time. She was hurt and let Jill and Ben know that daddy didn’t love them anymore, or he would still live in the house and be their dad. Before long, mom’s lawyer let dad know what he was expected to pay for child support, the girl’s special expenses and for alimony / spousal support. Also, Jill and Ben didn’t want to see him this coming weekend because he wasn’t a good daddy. Before long, phone calls stopped and dad wasn’t seeing them, even for dinner. He was heartbroken. Even his parents and brother, who were always close to them, couldn’t see them anymore. Weeks and then months went by. Jill and Ben cried a lot and were comforted by mom. “He’s a bad daddy”, mom would say. They complained a lot about upset stomachs, being tired and missing a lot of school. Dad still went to church so mom told them they couldn’t go.
Anger grew in mom. She was angry about money problems, about betrayal, about almost everything. She had all the responsibility now for Jill and Ben and thought all men were slimy. What happened and how did it happen so quickly?
Parental Alienation is defined as a set of behaviors that are harmful and damaging to a child’s emotional and mental health. It generally involves the mental manipulation and / or bullying of a child, by a parent, to pick between their mother and their father. Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) is a psychological condition most often observed in children affected by high conflict divorce and / or separation. Children suffering from PAS often have severe opposition to contact with one parent and / or a powerful hatred toward a parent when there is little or often no logical reason to explain the child’s behavior.
Hostile Aggressive Parenting (HAP) is a serious form of child maltreatment and abuse and is encountered in most high-conflict child-custody disputes and is often used as a tool to align the child with one parent during litigation. A parent suffering from HAP will do his or her best to interfere with the relationship of a child with another person.
Mom’s anger at dad and mom’s ability to manipulate the kid’s feelings for their dad was the start of alienation. This situation could also happen to moms. It happens quickly but is also abusive.
All children deserve to love and not hide their love, for either parent.
When Parents Do Well, Children Do Well