1 in 4 Children of Divorce Suffer Parental Alienation Syndrome | angiEmedia

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Child Support, Children and Domestic Violence, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, False Allegations of Domestic Violence, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, Marriage, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, Parents rights, Protective Dads, Protective Parents, Restraining Orders on November 5, 2009 at 12:45 pm

1 in 4 Children of Divorce Suffer Parental Alienation Syndrome

Written by: Paco

November 3rd, 2009


Psychology researchers Jose Canton Duarte, Rosario Cortes Arboleda, and Dolores Justicia Diaz from the University of Granada have written a book on the psychological problems caused by parental alienation during child custody conflicts entitled Conflictos entre los padres, divorcio y desarrollo de los hijos (English: Marital Conflicts, Divorce, and Children’s Development). In much of the United States and of course in countries south of the border, there are a large number of families going through difficult divorces who speak Spanish as their primary language. While there is a wealth of English-language information on the form of emotional child abuse known as parental alienation, the selection of such titles for Spanish-literate populations has been more limited. If you know of a Spanish-speaking family with intense conflict between divorced parents, this title might be helpful for their extended family to read to understand what is happening to the child who used to love them but who now avoids and even lies about them after being brainwashed by the parent who has primary custody.

1 out of 4 children involved in a divorce undergoes Parental Alienation Syndrome

In the 1980’s, PAS was defined by scientist Richard Gardner of Columbia University. Men are usually the target parent, since in most cases the mother has custody of the child.

According to Mª Rosario Cortés, “the so-called alienating parent is the one who has custody and uses it to brainwash the child, turning him or her against the alienated parent”. In most cases, the process is very subtle the custodial parent stating such things as “if I just told you some more things about your father/mother…”, or by making the child feel sorry for “abandoning” every time he or she visits the alienated parent.

As pointed out by the group of researchers of the University of Granada, there are many other factors which influence PAS apart from the unacceptable attitude of the custodial parent, such as children’s psychological vulnerability, the character and behaviour of parents, dynamics among brothers, or the existing conflicts between the two divorced parents. Very often children not only reject their father, but also his family and close friends. Grandparents, uncles and aunts, cousins, and the new partner of the non-custodial parent are also affected by this syndrome, and children undergoing PAS can even “expel them from their life.”

Among other symptoms, Professor Cortés points out that children tend to find continual justifications for the alienating parent’s attitude. They denigrate the target parent, relate negative feelings unambivalently towards that parent, deny being influenced by anyone (pleading responsibility for their attitude), feel no guilt for denigrating the alienated parent, or recount events which were not experienced but rather came from listening to others.

The authors of Marital Conflicts, Divorce, and Children’s Development, state that PAS is more frequent among children aged 9 to 12 than among teenagers, and that there are no relevant gender differences in PAS.

Uno de cada cuatro hijos de padres en proceso de divorcio contencioso sufre el denominado ‘Síndrome de Alienación Parental’

El SAP fue definido en los años 80 por el científico Richard Gardner, de la Universidad de Columbia (EE UU), y el afectado suele ser con frecuencia el hombre (por la simple razón de que la custodia suele darse a la madre).

“El progenitor que llamamos ‘alienante’ se sirve de la custodia del hijo para realizarle un lavado de cerebro en toda regla, basado en el dogmatismo, poniéndole en contra del progenitor alienado”, explica Mª Rosario Cortés. En la mayoría de los casos, este proceso se produce de forma muy sutil, siendo frecuente que estos padres empleen frases del tipo “si yo te contara cosas de tu padre/madre…”, o hacen sentir culpables al menor por ‘abandonarles’ simplemente por cumplir el régimen de visitas.

Los investigadores granadinos señalan que, amén de esta intolerable actitud por parte del alienante, “en el Síndrome de Alienación Parental influyen otras muchas circunstancias, como la vulnerabilidad psicológica del niño, la conducta y la personalidad de ambos progenitores, las dinámicas fraternales o los conflictos entre ambos padres. Con frecuencia, suele ocurrir que el niño no sólo llegue a rechazar a su padre, sino también a toda la familia y al entorno de éste. Abuelos, tíos, primos y las nuevas parejas del alienado se ven también afectados por este síndrome, “llegando a ser prácticamente ‘’borrados del mapa’ por el niño que padece el SAP”.

Cortés señala que, entre los síntomas del SAP en el menor, destacan la justificación continuada y sistemática de la actitud del padre ‘alienante’, una campaña de denigración del progenitor ‘alienado’, la ausencia de ambivalencia en los sentimientos negativos hacia dicho progenitor, las afirmaciones de que nadie lo ha influenciado y que ha llegado solo a adoptar esta actitud, la ausencia de culpabilidad por la denigración del progenitor ‘alienado’ o contar hechos que manifiestamente no ha vivido él sino que ha escuchado a otros.

Los autores de “Conflictos matrimoniales, divorcio y desarrollo de los hijos” –libro que ya fue publicado en el año 2000, pero que próximamente será reeditado y actualizado con nuevos datos- señalan que el SAP es más frecuente entre los 9 y 12 años que en la adolescencia, y no existen diferencias significativas por sexos (“se da tanto en niños como en niñas”).

1 in 4 Children of Divorce Suffer Parental Alienation Syndrome | angiEmedia.

  1. Hello:

    Thank you for your article. Jose Canton Duarte, Rosario Cortes Arboleda, Dolores Justicia Diaz, and the University of Granada should be commended for their work.

    I would be very interested in hearing how the authors determined that 1 in 4 children are victims of parental alienation. Parental Alienation is a huge problem in the U.S. and our efforts to raise the visibility of this issue within the legal and mental health communties would be helped by statistics such as the one you quoted.

    I do, however, have to take exception with one point in your article. As the author of A Family’s Heartbreak: A Parent’s Introduction to Parental Alienation, I hear from many fathers and mothers who have been alienated from their children. Based on our mail, I’d say equal numbers of Dads and Moms are on the receiving end of alienating behavior. Sadly, both Moms and Dads suffer from the long-standing emotional issues that lead one parent to alienate a child from another parent.

    Thank you.

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

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