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Massachusetts Divorce Law Monitor What you never thought you'd need to know about divorce

More Kid Stuff

Posted in Alimony and Child Custody

Hi there,

It is great to be back in the real world outside of the courtroom.  Trials are fun, but life goes on and the emails and phone calls pile up.  My thanks to my colleague Andrea for her piece on parental alienation while I was otherwise occupied.

I truly am disturbed by parental alienation cases.  Sometimes it is hard to distinguish between a high conflict case and one in which the children are really being alienated.  In a high conflict case, both parents may be indulging in a tug of war with the kids in the middle.  In a case of parental alienation, one parent makes a (conscious?) decision to completely make it impossible for the other parent to have any kind of a good relationship with the kid(s). 

As a practical matter, I am not sure that it really matters which is going on.  The kids get just as damaged, I think.  The psychiatric community has decided they will not be including parental alienation as a diagnosis in the DSM-V.  I think that makes sense.  I view parental alienation not as an illness, but a behavioral choice.

As a practitioner I am seeing more cases where the children are being destroyed, regardless of the terminology we apply. 

Kids need for their parents to be parents.  There are a number of good resources available for parents who are trying to deal with this behavior as well.

Best,

Nancy