Is PAS “Junk Science” ?

In Best Interest of the Child, Childrens Rights, Family Court Reform, fathers rights, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parents rights on June 11, 2009 at 12:11 am

10 June, 2009 (14:31) | In the News | By: chrissy

The constant argument with PAS is that it is an abusers haven. What about the women that uses the “abuse excuse” to gain custody of their children. Is that supported in the belief system that ALL abuse stated is true? PAS is real I’m living proof so are thousands of other children. The comment made that some children act out due to the violence they saw in the home is on a case by case basis. There are many children that do not see abuse until divorce when one or the other parent takes on both roles of father and mother and excludes the other parent from their life. That is a form of child abuse, mental abuse, emotional abuse…the kind of abuse that is commonly accepted across the country in every court room and domestic violence shelter.

I will agree that some cases do have violence in the relationship.

But to say everyone in a relationship is abused is insane.

Why do most men get labeled as an abuser on queue? Communities of women/men all over this nation are hell bent on targeting children and claiming abuse for custody. What about the situations where there are is a fit parent and one turns the child against the other, the alienating parent is abusing the child.

The alienating parent is not thinking about the child but of their own emotion. Reunification is a good tool as long as the parent is fit. Another words just because someone says they were abused doesn’t make it so (that goes for male and female)

Parental Alienation is not junk science it is a breakdown of a bond between a parent and their child.
It happens all over the world to families everywhere. The syndrome element will be determined but keep in mind just because an illness didn’t have name in the “book” doesn’t mean it did not exist. I know it does I lived it.

This woman claims to help protective parents but how can you do that if you don’t believe such things. Sometimes you have to think am I protecting the real abuser or is this a true case of abuse! Parental Alienation is real and it destroys familes. There has even been children that commit suicide than want to deal of not pleasing a parents wishes. There are many good books and resources to educate on parental alienation and reunification.


June 10, 2009

In the past few decades, a term called Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) or Parental Alienation (PA) has been used in family courts to describe a situation where one parent poisons the mind of the child against the other parent.

While it is true that some mothers (and fathers) intentionally bad-mouth their spouses or partners, several reasons can explain why the child fears or distances him- or herself from a parent. It has long been recognized that children experiencing divorce can exhibit aggressive behavior or depression. Children can react angrily to their parents’ separation and may even be reacting to the conflict and violence they’ve witnessed.

But there is another possible explanation for a so-called alienated child. The child may have been abused and, as a result, fears or exhibits hostility toward the “target” parent. PAS, then, can shift the attention from an abusive situation to that of a protective parent’s “alienating” behavior. Abusers, who, not surprisingly, deny allegations or call them “false allegations” (and actually get the spouse punished with fines or jail time), are more likely to seek custody than nonviolent parents. And, often enough, they get it.

While PAS has many proponents, most credible agencies do not support it. The American Psychological Association says PAS “lacks evidence” and the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges refers to it as a “discredited” syndrome. The American Prosecutor’s Research Institute says, —¦ PAS is an untested theory that, unchallenged, can have far-reaching consequences for children seeking protection and legal vindication in courts of law.” Despite opposition, PAS is still used widely in courtrooms across the country.

In the past decade judges have felt compelled to rectify claims of alienation. Some have sent children to “deprogramming” or reunification centers in attempts to undo hostile feelings. According to the Leadership Council on Child Abuse, therapy usually involves confining the child to a location away from home and isolating the child from the parent to whom the child is most attached. The attachment to the favored parent is challenged, while encouraging the child with intensive sessions to re-accept the rejected parent.

Since abusers can use PAS as an excuse, some children are reunified with a parent that physically, emotionally or sexually abused them. The child may react to this reunification with increased symptoms, suicidal ideation, or even suicide attempts.

Recently in Ontario, a judge ordered two teenage boys to undergo deprogramming treatment after allegedly being brainwashed by the father. An 18-year-old sibling stepped in and sought custody for his younger brothers, both of whom were diagnosed as suicidal. Newspapers reported him as saying, “My brothers have ended up being committed in a hospital against their wishes, committed to live somewhere where they do not want to live, exposed to psychiatrists, who have attempted to carry out experimental therapy with them at the risk of severe harm to them.”

Deprogramming treatment raises important ethical and legal questions. Do children have a right to their own thoughts? Do they have a choice in forming their relationships? Do parents’ interests trump children’s? Can legal strategies be employed to challenge children’s fear and hostility? These are complex issues that deserve careful evidence-based approaches that preserve the integrity of children’s rights while balancing those of the parents. If any treatment is court-ordered, we owe it to our children to use the ethical guidelines set out by the American Psychological Association to guide us in our decisions.

Deprogramming treatment for children, at least for now, should be confined to the realm of science fiction and not to courtrooms.

Joan Dawson is a public policy assistant at the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence and is a member of the Family Court Reform Coalition, which seeks to help protective parents, including many battered women, gain custody of their children. The American Forum is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, educational organization that provides with the views of state experts on major public concerns in order to stimulate informed discussion. Dawson is a public policy assistant at the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence and is a member of the Family Court Reform Coalition.
‘Deprogramming’ alienated children is science fiction’


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