Do Children Reconcile after Parental Alienation Syndrome?

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Child Support, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, custody, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, Marriage, motherlessness, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, parental rights on August 27, 2009 at 3:00 pm

Do Children Reconcile?

by Katherine Andre, PhDwww.parentalalienationsolutions.com

Do children reconcile?The  most frequently asked question that I have heard from alienated parents  after “What do I do next?”  is “Will my child return?”
Although there are no guarantees, many professionals believe and have seen many alienated children return. Some are helped to return by therapists, assisted by court orders, and others may need to be deprogrammed.  Some believe that when natural maturation occurs and children are able to think for themselves, that they initiate and begin the process to reconcile.

Some may require intervention.Intervention can take the form of bringing to light the themes of the alienator’s belief system or program. One common theme called denial of existence sends the message to the child that the other parent is not significant.

Children are not allowed to talk about the parent, express joy about the parent and are given a subtle, but clear message to refuse to acknowledge the parent at social functions. There are other themes that you can read about in Children Held Hostage.

Extended family especially have an obligation to intervene to help children by bringing to light the brainwashing and offering communications to correct the alienator’s misrepresentation of reality. Children always lose when they don’t feel free to love both parents.

Studies reveal that geographical distance from the alienator and more time with the rejected parent is also a powerful factor in reconciliation. This may not be possible unless you are involved in litigation and are fortunate enough to be in a court system that recognizes and is knowledgeable bout PA.
It has been estimated that  95 percent of alienated children reconcile and only 5 percent do not. From clinical experience and anecdotal stories, there are similarities among the cases.
Among these cases, the similarities suggest that four  factors are important.

  • Contact of some kind with your child, especially around milestones like birthdays, graduations, or other important events. Cards, phone calls, or letters may be misinterpreted as harassment, but on the other hand, they may just be important reminders to your child that you exist and you care.
  • Love, love, love. Keep sending out messages of love. Children who have returned tell me that they didn’t want to hear the parent defend or explain unless asked,  they just needed to see loving actions.
  • Community support, and personal and family support provide a much needed network of assistance. Closely akin to the idea that it takes a village to raise a child , it takes a community to intervene on behalf of PA children. As Clawar and Rivlin point out in their landmark book published by the American Bar Association, Section of family Law called  Children Held Hostage, “the legal system in most states is not currently adequate to protect children from this form of abuse.” Mental health professionals, teachers and coaches, attorneys, family members, friends and others who discover the brainwashing process “have an obligation to intervene on behalf of the child” just as they would for other forms of child abuse. (Note: in California at least, progress in this area has been made since the book was published in 1991.California mediators are trained in recognizing alienation.)
  • Hope. Accept what is happening, choose to go on with your own life, but maintain hope. It is a thread that runs through stories of successful reconciliations. Figure out what it takes for you to stay hopeful, even without months or years of reciprocity or acknowledgement of your efforts. For some, a support group, church attendance, counseling, journal writing, Yoga, or meditation classes have helped. For others, writing a loving “final” letter of acceptance has helped and even started a reconciliation process. Whatever it is, find it, practice, it and do it.

Hope is closely connected to staying inspiredHope is closely connected to staying inspired. Read about other reunited cases and perhaps you will find ideas to help you. Remember what Dale Carnegie said,” Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.”
There are cases of children reconciling, even as adults, and even after years of being alienated. Some adult children return with feelings of guilt for the way they have treated their rejected parent. They experience anger and betrayal at the parent who deceived them into believing lies and manipulating their emotions.

Some require treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder before being able to address the alienation issues and the ways in which their part in the alienation process has affected their adult lives. Although the missed years can never be restored, they can be forgiven. You can go forward and establish meaningful connections once again. Others have gone before you; you can too.

Do Children Reconcile after Parental Alienation Syndrome?.

  1. Excellent observations and recap, Katherine. We also receive many emails from parents who have reconnected with their alienated children after many years. They all say the same thing — never give up hope and keep the door open.

    In our book, A Family’s Heartbreak: A Parent’s Introduction to Parental Alienation, we tell the story of a father who was reunited with his alienated daughters after 30 years. That’s a long time, and we hope no one else has to wait that long, but having a relationship with his daughters (and grandchildren) made him the happiest man in the world — even after 30 years.

    Thanks for your continued efforts.


    mike jeffries,
    Author, A Family’s Heartbreak: A Parent’s Introduction to Parental Alienation

    • Parental Alienation is something that we in India do not even know of. I stumbled about so many situations where my children would not want to see me. I was amazed, saddened and even angry with my wife at times (despite the fact that I am basically a very forgiving person).

      If not for the fact that I accidentally stumbled upon PAS, I would have possibly have hit dirt by now. I then realized that there was something sinister about the whole thing, and this has given me the ability of fighting back.

      However, despite our fantastic money miracle and strides in so many other spheres, India is backward in these aspects. I guess it is because divorce is something really new here. So, in the confusion, I hardly get any support from the psychologists community, and have done a ton of work whilst trying to educate schools and members of our community.

      To make a point, I am 001 from India to sign the petition to the UN, to recognize PAS as a syndrome. This should tell you a tale.

      Anyway, do let me know how I can be of help, and regarding anyone else who reads this post, I am available at any time, since I desperately look forward to hearing from anyone who can help people in India learn more of this dreaded syndrome.

      May God bless us all,
      Goa, India

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