justice for non custodial parents
Ludwig.F. Lowenstein Ph.D
Southern England Psychological Services
In the findings of the Court of Appeal by Dame Elizabeth Butler-Sloss,
Thorpe and Waller (June 19th 2000) I have been described in my one
and only case before the committee as:
“at the one end of the broad spectrum of mental health
practitioners and of the belief in the existence of PAS”
(Parental Alienation Syndrome).
The judiciary were right in stating that PAS has not as yet been
recognised by such bodies august as the American Psychological Association
or the American Psychiatric Association or indeed the British Psychological
Society etc. One must intrude here that it was equally not recognised
that women should have the vote during the period of the suffragette
Even if PAS in a legal sense can be negated, the existence of parental
alienation or PA cannot be denied legally or realistically. It goes
on as any rejected parent will verify. Until PAS (parental alienation
syndrome) has been accepted, I will therefore reluctantly use only
the term PA (parental alienation). It is unfortunate that my report
at that time was rejected even though it was supported by a Court
Welfare Officer. When the case went to appeal I was unfortunately
not given the opportunity to argue in support of this report personally
as I was never invited to do so. One might say I was sidelined much
as rejected parents are sidelined.
This particular appeal related to several cases where the fathers
wished for direct contact. In each case a father’s application
for direct contact had been refused by the Judge, “against
a background of domestic violence between the parents”. The
court considered the report of the Children Act Sub-Committee of
the Advisory Board on Family Law on parental contact in domestic
violence cases, and a joint expert report prepared by two child
psychiatrists for the Official Solicitor. In the case of real domestic
violence, the decision for no direct contact is easy to uphold,
but even here each case must be judged on its specific merits.
For example domestic violence often occurs following severe provocation
and often with both parents acting violently, although one parent
only is held responsible (Lowenstein, L. F., (2005). Children should
naturally not be exposed to such events. Once of the parties have
separated, there could be arguments for allowing the non resident
parent having direct contact with the child even though there had
been domestic violence since the two parents are no longer associated
or together. It is of course important that the inimical parents
be kept apart, especially when change over of contact is being considered.
There is therefore the need for an independent intermediary to convey
a child from one parent to the other.
Unless the absent parent has in any way or form been abusive to
a child, there is no reason for that parent having close and regular
contact with the child, especially if there has been a close and
warm relationship with that child in the past. Later I will discuss
the scenario of what should happen when the child no longer wishes
to have direct, or any contact, with the previously much loved parent.
Suffice it to say, it is my view that the peremptory dismissing
of the four appeals was wrong and should in time be reversed. The
important or paramount factor at issue is “the likely risk
of harm to the child” (page 2 of the report Court of Appeal
Dame Elizabeth Butler- Sloss P, Thorpe and Waller, LJJ 19 June 2000)
in this I agree totally with the Court of Appeal’s findings.
Children should always feel and be safe. In that case, the Judiciary
found in favour of the mother who did not wish her former spouse
to have direct contact. Although there was a background of violence
during the marriage and it remained a factor which, the Judge found,
“had left its mark on the mother, unlike the other appeals
before us, violence does not appear to me to be the main cause of
the refusal of contact by the mother.” One could well ask
what was the main cause for allowing the father contact when the
child was the most likely beneficiary?
I was jointly instructed by the mother and the father and gave
my opinion that therapy should be instituted as soon as possible
with the purpose of improving the likelihood of good contact with
the other parent as the result of such therapy. This, as with a
number of my other cases was refused.
The Court Welfare Officer was also in favour of my recommendation.
A complaint made by the mother against the Court Welfare Officer
led to that officer not wishing to appear before the court despite
being asked to do so. As already mentioned, I was not invited in
the original court hearing to appear to give evidence of the vindictive
parental alienation that occurred which influenced the child against
having contact with the father. Had I been asked, I would have happily
given evidence and been cross examined in support of my own report
and the Court Welfare Officer’s views also. I was not aware
at the time that the case had gone to appeal. I would likewise have
been happy to support my position and the contents of the report
It is unfortunate that the parent who has custody will sometimes
make unwarranted allegations against an expert whose views are contrary
to their own. This happened in the case of the Court Welfare Officer.
It could just as easily happen towards anyone including myself!
This will, however, in no way dissuade me from giving evidence in
the future which I believe to be both just and right.
The child’s intractable hostility towards an absent parent
and even the parent’s extended family will often express the
view that they do not wish contact with the father/mother. This
must always be viewed always as individual cases. Children do not
become hostile and wish no contact with a parent for no reason,
especially if there has been a good relationship in the past. What
one must seek to ascertain is what the real reasons are for avoiding
contact ! Such in-depth analysis of the child’s motivation
rarely occurs. It is therefore vital to examine the child’s
rejection of a parent at greater depth via therapy. This again but
rarely occurs. The child not wishing contact with a parent is accepted
as sacrosanct. This is not being child centred. It is being duped
by a child’s superficial response.
It is not enough to accept what the child claims are the reasons.
We must look beneath their reasons and how they could have originated.
The phrase “possession in nine tenths of ownership”
has been used to claim justified ownership of objects. The custodial
parent’s claim of a child is very much the same. The child
is claimed as theirs and theirs alone. That cannot be right, and
yet at present that is exactly the case. The child may be said to
have changed his or her view toward the absent parent for a reason!
Having viewed recent cases in the High Court the expertise of
two psychiatrists have been accepted as sacrosanct. Their view has
been that the child, who does not wish direct or any contact with
the parent, must be respected and acted upon. This conclusion is
reached in the four cases that have appealed to the Court of Appeal
for contact. I have waited long to respond to the decision of Dame
Elizabeth Butler-Sloss and her colleagues. I have in some way responded
indirectly by my articles on PA published and unpublished. The current
response is more direct and is based on numerous cases where I have
acted as an Expert Witness. My failures are not based on a parent
having no justification for contact with a child but the precendent
reached by Dame Butler-Sloss and her colleagues. These precendents
must be altered and the right of the non custodial parent considered
as equally important as that of the custodial parent. This is to
the benefit of the child. This is a real illustration of being child
centred. The child really prefers both parents to be involved with
themselves once the alienation process has been overcome. Again,
one must ask oneself why were such unfair decisions reached by the
highly learned and respected Judges. It was reached not in the name
of what is “right” and “just”. It was not
reached in considering what is best for the child. It was reached
for three main reasons:
- Because the child “wishes it” by reason of unjustified
- Because of the difficulties involved in seeking to reverse what
the child wants following the alienation, that the child has undergone.
- Because of failing to understand why the child is intractably
hostile to one parent. It must be remembered this was not the
case in the past, when the parental relationship was relatively
Let us remember that the child who now refuses contact or wishes
for only supervised or indirect contact had previously been extremely
happy with the currently alienated parent who is now the rejected
parent. That rejection is based on something that has occurred in
the interim, while that caring non custodial and loved parent has
been absent. The reasons have been well documented in the current
writers previous published and unpublished papers currently on the
Many parents who love their child find it difficult and sometimes
impossible to accept supervised or indirect contact. They are humiliated
by such proposals. They feel, and rightly so, that they have done
nothing to deserve this kind of limitation of contact. The fathers
feel, and often experience, that it does not lead to direct contact.
The problem, however, remains for the judicial system how best
to deal with the issue of a child refusing direct contact with a
formerly loving parent and a formerly loved parent. My views are
well known on how to make a custodial parent comply and insist that
a child has contact with the absent parent. It is more often than
not that the custodial parent has brought about the situation of
a child’s unwillingness to be with a parent by direct or indirect
statements and actions which led to the child’s antagonism
towards the absent parent.
If the parent does not or will not reverse the alienation they
have been instrumental in creating, then some justified action is
required. This is both just and fair. Such parents will of course
argue that they have done nothing to influence a child! As I have
already said in courts on many occasions, the child is forced to
wash, put on clean clothes, go to school, see a doctor or dentist
(an especially unpleasant experience at times) but cannot be encouraged
or made to see the other parent! Does this smack of reality or rational
thinking? I think not.
I have always emphasised the value of therapy and/or mediation
when this occurs. My preference is for cognitive behaviour therapy.
This is also often opposed by the court and the custodial parent.
They consider this unnecessary and even damaging to the child’s
emotional state! The opposition by a parent is seen, at present,
as the right of that parent to refuse mediation and treatment to
identify and reverse the process of alienation. What about the right
of the non custodial parent? What about the right of the child to
have contact with both parents which deep down without the alienation
would have been the case? Unfortunately, at present, the right of
the non custodial parent, as well as the child’s deeper needs,
Sometimes, it occurs, that a parent “plays along” with
the therapy and mediation recommended. When the report by the expert
and therapist is written and rational decisions are reached that
go against the custodial parent, the report is often thrown out.
Sometimes the expert is even viewed as prejudiced and being in favour
of the non custodial parent. He is even disgraced or discredited
for having suggested that a parent must co-operate or that a parent
should lose custody of her child if he/she fails to encourage the
child to be in contact with the previously loved parent. The basis
of such action is again in the best interests of the child. It should
be remembered when a child rejects a good parent it is not the child
speaking. The child is in fact repeating and expressing the views
of the alienator.
Two well regarded psychiatrist used the child’s right not
to have direct contact with a parent as sacrosanct. This is despite
the Judiciary making the following statement:
“I would however like to express some sympathy for
the father, whose attempt to revive contact were found by the
Judge to be genuine and well motivated. It may be that, if he
perseveres in keeping in touch with G by interesting letters,
postcards, cards and presents, when G is a little older he may
express a wish to be in touch with his father…..”
Unfortunately by that time the important role of that parent has
In the interim, much harm is likely to occur due to the restrictions
based on a loving parent not having positive contact with a child.
Lack of contact by a good parent with a child goes against the views
of Lord Woolf MR and many others in the case of (Contact: Stepfather’s
Opposition)  2LFR 579 where it is stated “…the
general policy of this court that contact between a child and its
natural parent is to be maintained wherever possible”. Lord
Woolf has failed to understand that the phrase ‘wherever possible’
relies so much at present on the child’s own unsubstantiated
wishes or superficial wishes based on the alienation.
Of paramount importance is the welfare of the child. One cannot
help but agree with this, rather than the rights of either of parents
for contact. The two issues are however linked, that is good, positive,
caring parenting leads to safety and security for the child. This
view is also contained in S1(1) of 1989 Act:
“The welfare of the child is the paramount consideration
of any court concerned to make an Order relating to the upbringing
of a child. It cannot be emphasised too strongly, that the court
is concerned with the interests of the mother and the father only
in so far as they bear on the welfare of the child.”
How can this view be stated so clearly by Lord Woolf and others
including the House of Lords in S v M (Access Order)  1FLR980
and in reality the reverse often occurs when parents separate in
an acrimonious manner? The answer is that when a child does not
wish contact, this is taken very seriously and acted upon by the
Judiciary. No effort, or very limited effort is made to unearth
the real basis for the child’s stance and frequent implacable
hostility to one parent, usually the absent father, although it
could be the good mother also. Even when Expert Witnesses discover
that the process of alienation has taken place, the Judiciary believe
they are acting in the best interests of the child by refusing to
insist on the child being made to have contact, or making a Contact
Order which could force the custodial parent to change the view
of the child regarding contact. This is often sufficient if there
is pressure on the custodial parent that if they fail to do so they
will lose the child in their care. Courts however, are very reluctant
to make such statements and even more to enforce such decisions.
They consider it will be worse for the child if this occurs. I do
not agree. The damage, long and short term created by a child’s
opportunity to have contact with two parents is a much worse scenario.
It should be remembered that the child in many instances has had
a close and positive relationship with the non custodial parent
and it could be resurrected providing the child has contact with
that parent on a regular basis without the interference or alienation
of the custodial parent. Something has undoubtedly happened, to
change the views and feelings of the child towards the absent parent.
Should whatever that is not be targeted for remediation? The reason
for such change of attitude and behaviour in not wishing contact
with a good but absent parent is almost certainly a process of programming,
by the alienator.
Even if the child unfortunately, has witnessed a scenario of domestic
violence between the parents, and this is not always the case, when
they lived together, this has been resolved by the absence of one
of the parents from the home. Sometimes the allegations of domestic
violence have been exaggerated or have been mutual, or have indeed
been unsubstantiated by independent and honest witnesses.
Lord McCluskey (S v M (Access Order) [1997} 1 FLR 980 stated the
importance to the child of both parents having contact. In his view
the link between the child and each of his natural parents is so
important in itself, that, unless there are very strong reasons
to the contrary, it should be preserved.
The Tavisock Clinic has a similar view: “….There is
no doubt where parents have separated…….that for most
children their mental health their emotional, psychological and
social development are enhanced by regular contact with their parents
and extended family.” (Working with Children and Parents through
Separation and Divorce (1999) Dowling & Gorrell-Barnes: Macmillan
Press. Hence virtually everyone agrees on the importance of contact
for the absent parent with the child under positive circumstances.
The area of uncertainty and disagreement is however how to interpret
a child’s statement of unwillingness to have contact with
the absent parent despite a history of good relationship. My own
view here is that it is vital to establish the real reasons for
a child feeling this way and to assess and study it. Frequently
it is due to the absent parent having done nothing wrong although
this has been interpreted differently by the alienating parent to
the child. It is more likely therefore, that an attitude of this
kind is formed due to the influence of the custodial parent. This
is sometime termed “programming” or even “brainwashing”.
This result is that a good parent has been alienated, often permanently.
Here something must be done to reverse this process. Sturge &
Glaser would accept the right of the child to refuse contact with
a parent and they consider it best to act upon it. I would strongly
disagree. It is here not the child giving the opinion but the alienator!
It must be remembered that the child is under the total control
of the custodial parent (Lowenstein, 2005). It must be necessary
to look beneath what the child claims is a decision for not wishing
contact with a parent.
Sturge & Glaser prefer a slow, gradual process, sometimes
commencing with indirect contact, to supervised contact leading
by slow steps to direct contact. This approach is unlikely to be
effective since during all this time, the alienation process continues
unabated. Using the Sturge and Glaser method the child’s views
are not altered and cannot be altered. The child’s attitude
and behaviour often becomes worse. This is exemplified by having
witnessed how non custodial parents suffer when thrown together
in a supervised situation. Such parents are humiliated, called names
and worse during such contact meetings. This is especially the case
if the custodial parent is present and the child has an audience
and ally. Here the child is showing the custodial parent how falsely
he/she feels about the non custodial parent. Emails and ordinary
letters and telephone calls are equally unsatisfactory, and frequently
do not bring the child closer to the non custodial parent. It must
be remembered that the alienator still has total control of the
child physically and psychologically. If anything the unwarranted
animosity of the child towards the non custodial parent gets worse!
Such behaviour is encouraged directly or subtly against the now
hated former partner.
If there is more than one child, then the older child will often
influence the younger ones to reject the father or mother. They
will even influence the very young who have had little or no contact
with the alienated parent before the acrimonious parting of the
ways by the parents. The only answer can be to influence the alienator
through strong sanctions to reverse that process and to sincerely
and directly influence and encourage the child to seek good contact
with the absent parent. Such behaviour must be sincere and not pretence.
This can lead very often however, to lip-service and the parent
claiming that he/she can do nothing to “change the views”
of the child!? As has already been stated children are made to do
many things i.e. going to the dentist, than meeting a loving parent.
It must be made clear to such a parent that if they are unable
to alter the child’s views then someone else must do so via
therapy or mediation. This must always be with the backing of the
court. If this fails change of residence could be determined as
a last resort. Often the threat of this likely to follow is sufficient
for the custodial parent to do all they can to resolve the matter
and to make certain that the child has contact with the absent parent.
I would hasten to add that this is not primarily for the benefit
of the sidelined parent, but for the child. The child has and will
suffer as a result of being deprived of one parent in the short
and even more in the long term (Lowenstein, 2005, article 20). The
author is therefore equally child-centred since contact with two
loving parents is of the greatest benefit to the child.
At the present time, the plight of the good and caring absent
parent is being rejected by an alienated child and often by an alienated
court which fails to see the reason for the lack of desire for contact
that is the true reason. The softly, softly approach advocated by
Sturge and Glaser and accepted by the Judiciary at present does
not work. Absent parents without contact with their children continues
unabated. Absence does not make the “heart grow fonder”
towards the alienated parent. It is just the reverse. The absence
of contact widens the gulf until it can no longer be bridged. Most
alienated parents after years of struggling against the legal odds
as well as the deluded expert witnesses, ‘throw in the towel’.
They seek no further contact. This is a tragedy for the present
and for the future of the child.
In the current situation, it is important to gather evidence via
a survey of professional experts as well as from non custodial parents.
It is important to obtain real evidence as to the percentage of
success or failure of current acceptable methods to bring about
direct contact. Are current procedures successful in leading to
contact in the first instance? The answer is likely to be, no. The
aim for direct contact between the absent parent and the child/children
fails under the current conditions.
The survey (questionnaire) which is at the end of this article
seeks to obtain for the first time, objective evidence as to whether
the current recommendations of Dr J. G. Sturge, Consultant Child
Psychiatrist, and Dr D. Glaser, Consultant Child Psychiatrist, are
valid. By valid, is meant, whether it leads to direct positive contact
between the absent parent and the child following indirect and supervised
contact as stepping stones to full contact. The hypothesis is that
this does not work, due to the continuing parental alienation practised
by the custodial parent. This leads the child to adopt the intractable
hostility and view that no direct contact with the non custodial
parent is desired. This is viewed by current experts Sturge &
Glaser as child centred approach. Decisions therefore are likely
to be made on the basis of what the child wishes “superficially”.
This then is wrongly linked to “what is in the best interests
of the child”.
In relation to the refusal of a child to see a parent Sturge &
Glaser (2000) state in Family Law, 615- 621:
(i) “the child must be listened to and taken seriously;
(ii) the age and understanding of the child are highly relevant;
(iii) the child, and the younger and the more dependent, either
for developmental or emotional reasons, if in a positive relationship
with the resident parent will inevitable be influence by:
• “that parent’s views;
• their wish to maintain her or his sense of security and
stability within that household.
(iv) Going against the child’s wishes must involve the following.
Indications that there are prospects of the child changing
his or her view as a result of preparation work or the contact
itself, for example, there is a history of meaningful attachment
and a good relationship; the non-resident parent has child-centred
plans as to how to help the child to overcome his or her resistance;
there are some indications of ambivalence such as an adamant statement
of not wanting to see that parent accompanied by lots of positive
memories and affect when talking of that parent.”
The validity of their view and it being acted upon by the court
has never been proven as valid, and yet it has been recognised in
the UK by Dame Elizabeth Butler-Sloss P, Thorpe and Waller LJJ (19
June 2000) as the way matters should be dealt with. It is time this
approach should be verified by objective evidence.
As an expert witness attending courts, dealing with numerous child
contact and custody disputes, I have been witness to considerable
and unwarranted injustice to one or both parents. This is most especially
the case over parental contact with one parent who is no longer
in the relationship with the other but has done nothing wrong in
relation to the child. This occurs when there has been an acrimonious
parting between the previously close parents. The child/children
are frequently brought into the hostility. They take sides. The
side they take is based on that parent who has total control over
The custodial parent who does not wish for the child to have good
contact with the absent parent directly or indirectly (subtly) does
everything possible to discourage contact of a favourable kind between
the now absent parent and the child. The absent parent tends to
be the father more often than the mother. I have always striven
for real justice for both fathers and mothers. At present neither,
what is “right” or “just” is being done.
I believe strongly that our legal system, and its code of laws or
rules prevent either justice or right winning the day. It is time,
high time, that there is a change of thinking and judicial action
needs to be taken in this respect. Laws need to be changed so that
both parents have access to justice. The chief casualty is always
My contact with the courts leave me in despair! I have had to witness
both mothers and fathers as well as their children losing contact
with a loving parent. I have had to witness a parent seeking good
contact with their child over months and years and not being able
to achieve this. The courts have hardly been helpful. The custodial
parent, usually programmes, or brainwashes the child/children to
reject the now absent parent. The absence of the parent is through
no fault of his/her own. The term parental alienation falls on deaf
ears in Courts of Law. The term parental alienation syndrome or
PAS fares even worse because it has not yet been recognised by the
American Psychiatric or Psychological Association and the British
Psychiatric or Psychological Association. Hence it cannot be used
as an argument in the courts.
PAS or parental alienation syndrome are merely symptoms that occur
together that lead a child to reject, and even despise a worthy
parent. There are eight symptoms to be considered which will be
discussed later. Everyone knows that programming against the parent
exists and leads to the rejection of that worthy parent and yet
the courts do not accept that this occurs.
They merely believe and act upon a child’s rejecting one
parent. It is my view, and others including Tony Coe from the organisation
called Equal Parenting Council (EPC), that the practice of turning
a child against a non residential parent is an act of hostility,
not only to the absent parent but to the child in the short and
long term. Everyone knows that a child is likely to identify more
often than not with the views of the custodial parent in showing
the same animosity towards the now absent father/mother as the non
custodial parent. Everyone knows that there are other symptoms of
this act of programming of the child such as exaggerating or creating
frivolous criticisms of the absent parent. Everyone knows that this
is wrong and the child’s comments about the faults of the
absent parent should not be accepted or taken seriously. The child
has in such cases been used by a vindictive parent to carry on the
hostility which existed between the adults.
Despite this, the courts will act and make decisions based on
what the child wants, or what he/she “says” they want.
This superficial and wrong decision of Judges needs to be reversed.
Such decisions are based on superficial face value thinking. It
needs to be reversed by looking beneath what the child says and
wants and why the child says what he/she says. This is more so now
that so many relationships increasingly end in a hostile manner.
Are we prepared for a child/children growing up with one parent
in an inimical environment and the other parent being viewed as
bad or worse? Are we not depriving the child/children thereby of
an absent but caring parent? One should remember this is in a background
of no domestic violence or the physical, sexual or emotional abuse
of a child.
In time many parents, usually the father, after years of seeking
rightful contact with a child gives up the battle against an unjust
legal response. Dame Elizabeth Butler-Sloss P is known for upholding
the law when she states that PAS cannot be used as an argument against
a brainwashing parent on the one side, and the rejection of the
worthy parent on the other side.
Sometimes the child will wish to have no contact whatsoever with
a parent with whom that child had previously enjoyed a close and
warm relationship. Sometimes, for no good reason, based on the child’s
alleged wishes, the court allows only supervised contact, often
with the parent present who has done the alienating!. This is unlikely
to be the right way forward. It is likely to be a humiliating experience
for the loving, yet rejected parent, who has done nothing to deserve
such treatment. Despite this, the court orders that this be done
because of the child’s alleged wishes. Let us look at what
has formed these wishes.
- 1. The family of the child/children has already been broken
- The child/children have already possibly witnessed and felt
the animosity between their two parents.
- The sympathy of the child/children already lies possibly with
one parent, often the mother, whom the child/children have seen
in a state of distress because they are the resident parent, due
to the alienation felt between the two parents.
- The child/children therefore often blames the absent parent
for all the distress caused at the time of the break up of the
parent’s relationship, and continues to blame the absent
parent for the continuous effort they make whilst trying to gain
access to the child/children.
- All this happens before the custodial parent has had a chance
to alienate the child/children against the non resident parent.
- Often the child/children are forced to take sides. Who do you
think they will side with? Yes, it is obvious that they will choose
the custodial parent who is trying to provide for them and their
- This is a good ground for the alienator in which to sow the
seeds of animosity. This is where the innuendos and emotional
blackmail can be scattered subtly or directly. The child may observe
pent up anger of the alienator against the absent parent, poverty
is claimed by the alienator because the absent parent is not contributing
to the upkeep of the child/children, visual emotion is expressed
about contact visits with the absent parent or over telephone
calls etc, and the child may be used as an ally, friend of confessor
by the alienator.
- If there is a great deal of animosity and anger from the custodial
parent toward the absent parent then the child/children are often
pawns in the game with the custodial parent using the child/children
as ammunition against the absent parent.
- What therefore is the child to think? Of course they choose
to remain and side with the custodial parent. Of course they want
the security of staying with the one parent of the marriage on
whom they now totally depend. Who is counselling them about the
situation and what they are possibly doing to the other parent?
No-one. So the situation continues unabated. Therefore when they
are interviewed by the CAFCASS officer what is the outcome?
- Yes, they wish to remain with the custodial parent and to get
rid of, often totally, the other parent who they see as making
a nuisance of himself/herself against the custodial parent and
causing them stress or anger.
There has to be another way of measuring or determining what is
best in the child’s interest despite what they say. As a court
expert and clinical expert of many years I am abhorred by many of
court’s decision based on a false impression gained from a
child that has been brainwashed. Frequently psychologists, psychiatrists
and others feel they are helpless and therefore they do not even
consider changing the view of the child and they go along with a
system and the law. These professionals readily, though sometimes
reluctantly, make decisions which further sideline one parent. In
my view this is but short-term thinking. It is likely to have short
and long-term unfortunate consequences for the child and obviously
for the rejected parent. Sometimes in later years the alienating
parent also pays the price for his/her nefarious activities, when
the child, now an adult, has been used.
What is required is to re-establish the relationship between the
alienated parent and the child. This is unlikely to be achieved
by further separation or by limited contact between the child and
the absent parent. It must be remembered, that while PAS does not
as yet have legal status, it is nevertheless real. It exists in
the form of a cruel rejection of a caring parent for unfounded reasons
who wishes for nothing more than to help care and guide his/her
child, as was the case before the separation or divorce. The child/children’s
brainwashing must not be accepted but be reversed.
Richard Gardner cites the following as signs of alienation:
- The child is aligned with the alienating parent in a campaign
of denigration against the target parent with the child making
- Rationalisations for the deprecating of the target parent are
often weak, frivolous or absurd.
- Animosity towards the rejected parent lacks the ambivalence
normal to human relationships.
- The child asserts that the decision to reject the target parent
is his or her own, also referred to as the “independent
- The child reflexively supports the parent with whom he or she
- The child expresses guiltless disregard for the feelings of
the target or hated parent.
- Borrowed scenarios are present i.e. the children’s statements
reflect the themes and terminology of the alienating parent.
- Animosity is spread over the extended family and others associated
with the hated parent.
Children who have thus been used by an alienator must have contact
with that parent or must be treated sensitively but firmly until
this is achieved. Absence from the alienated parent does not solve
the problem. Only prolonged contact can achieve the re-establishment
of the former caring and loving relationship.
It is my view that the law concerning the alienation of one parent
and his/her being sidelined by the programmer, must and will change.
This is because it is both unjust and unfair. It is also extremely
harmful to the child. Those in power must accept the injustice of
the current situation and not allow it to continue. It is not unlike
the plight of the suffragettes many years ago, who were deprived
of the vote because they were of the female gender. The law stated
at that time that they should not have the vote. That law was changed.
Equally slavery and the employment of young children in factories
and mines was done away with. The same must be the case for those
parents who have been alienated. Both political and judicial changes
In the meantime I will continue to do what I can, despite the
current laws, without accepting the ‘status quo’ which
is currently the case. The programmer will not be victorious for
long but at the moment one must sadly accept that this is the
survey is not included in the text of the internet version of this
article but can be taken by clicking this link.
Elizabeth Butler-Sloss P, Thorpe & Waller, Court of Appeal LJJ
19 June 2000 (http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/2000/194.html)
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Posted on internet.
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Posted on internet.
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