Most children whose parents live apart from each other long for a good relationship with both parents and want to be raised by both. In my own studies, and those of other researchers, children say that the worst part of divorce is that they do not get to spend enough time with their parents. The parent they spend the most time with during the week usually has less time for the children after the divorce because of the responsibilities of earning a living and running a household without the assistance of the other parent. Children are also unsatisfied with the type of relationship they can have with a parent seen mainly on weekends.
The majority of children want contact with both parents on a regular basis, and the most common preference among children, and among adults looking back on their parents’ divorce, is for parenting plans that more evenly balance their time between homes.
Some children, though, do not crave more time with an absent parent. Instead, these children reject one parent, resist contact, or show extreme reluctance to be with the parent. These children are alienated. In some cases, children have good reasons to reject a deficient parent. In other cases, children reject a parent with whom they previously had a good relationship, often paralleling their other parent’s negative attitudes. The children’s treatment of the rejected parent is disproportionate to that parent’s behavior and inconsistent with the prior history of the parent-child relationship. On the pages linked below you will find resources for understanding, preventing, and overcoming a child’s irrational alienation from, and rejection of, a loving parent.
Tips from Dr. Warshak and from former alienated parents on how to prevent and respond to parental alienation.
The principles of indirect communication and graduated exposure, discussed in detail in Divorce Poison: How To Protect Your Family From Bad-Mouthing and Brainwashing, can be implemented through the use of books, films, and TV shows. Find numerous suggestions for teaching alienated children lessons that are central to working through unreasonable alienation.
Dr. Warshak’s articles, pamphlets, and monographs on the psychology of alienated children.
Family Bridges: A Workshop for Troubled and Alienated Parent-Child Relationships™ is a revolutionary educational and experiential program that draws on social science research to help severely and unreasonably alienated children and adolescents adjust to living with a parent they claim to hate or fear. Family Bridges offers a safe and secure environment for children and parents, whom courts and therapists have traditionally regarded as beyond help, to restore a normal relationship.
Information regarding Dr. Warshak’s personal and individual telephone conference program.
Complimentary articles by Dr. Warshak on alienated children, parental alienation, divorce, and child custody.
Publications and case law relevant to parental alienation and parental alienation syndrome.
Learn how you can help promote awareness, understanding, prevention, and healing of disrupted parent-child and co-parenting relationships.
An entertaining DVD that quickly engages reluctant children in the process of learning about parental alienation and what they can do about it.
A guide to labels used by professionals regarding alienated children.