CHAIM STEINBERGER, P.C.
150 East 58th Street, Suite 2701
New York, NY 10155
(212) 964-6100 [email protected]
Parental Alienation Resources
“Parental alienation” occurs when one parent turns child(ren) against the other parent. When the alienating parent does or says things that makes the child(ren) fear, disrespect or hate the other [“targeted”] parent.
Because alienating children from a parent is so destructive to them, it is one of the worst betrayals a parent can commit.
Each child knows that he or she is one-half father and one-half mother. If a child is taught to reject or demean a parent, the child intrinsically assimilates the message that one-half of him- or her-self is also bad. This sets the child up for a life of internal turmoil and struggle, that can ruin the child’s entire life. The child can have children of their own, and still suffer the long-lasting effects of the alienation. (Indeed, alienating children tend to recreate the alienation into the next generation, perpetuating the pain and suffering for many generations.)
Studies show that children can overcome parents who live together but don’t love each other. They can also thrive despite their parents’ divorce. Children can overcome even their parents’ acrimonious divorce. When parents, however, are embroiled in a long, bitter contest, the children are permanently affected. The longer and more bitter the contention, the more dramatic its effects on the children. Thus, children whose parents had an extended bitter divorce, were socially maladjusted even thirty or forty years later.
Unfortunately, even loving parents in the heat of battle, overlook how mortally they wound their children. Studies show that parents routinely alienate in about 60% of all divorces, and sporadically in another 20%. That means that children are being exposed to these toxic “divorce poisons” in about 80% of all divorces.
Parents should love their children more than they hate the other parent. Of course if parents are divorcing, they’ve lost the art of getting along with one another. They should, however, remember that they chose each other to sire the children together. If that other parent was good enough then, it is now too late to “decide” that the other parent is not good enough to be a parent. The children need both parents of their parents in their lives, and they deserve to be loved by both. If a parent wasn’t able to change the other while they were married, they should stop trying to change them now after they’ve separated.
Mr. Steinberger wrote a widely-acclaimed article on the subject entitled, Father? What Father? Parental Alienation and its Effects on Children. (View or download the article by clicking on the title in the prior sentence.) In it he describes the profound pernicious effects alienation has on children. In the second half, he describes how New York courts have traditionally dealt with this issue and the protection the courts have given children. (“Indeed, so jealously do the courts guard the relationship between a noncustodial parent and his child that any interference with it by the custodial parent has been said to be ‘an act so inconsistent with the best interests of the children as to, per se, raise a strong probability that the [offending party] is unfit to act as custodial parent.’”) His article was published by the Family Law Review of the New York State Bar Association Family Law Section (download that version here), and was sent to about 3,000 judges and lawyers. It was even republished by the New York State Appellate Division in its Law Guardian Reporter (download that version here). Courts have relied on, and cited to, the article in determining custody decision. In fact, it was cited by the late Justice Robert A. Ross, in a decision reported by the New York Law Journal on June 7, 2010. (For an outline of Justice Ross’ decision, click here; for the judge’s actual decision click here; and to see how the Appellate Division dealt with this matter, click here.)
For additional help or information check out:
Dr. Richard Warshak’s website on the subject at http://www.warshak.com/;
Bone & Walsh, Parental Alienation Syndrome: How to Detect It and What to Do About It, 73 Fl. Bar J. p.44-48 (No. 3, March 1999) (http://www.fact.on.ca/Info/pas/walsh99.htm);
Dunne & Hedrick, The Parental Alienation Syndrome: An Analysis of Sixteen Selected Cases, 21 J. Divorce & Remarriage 21-38 (1994) (http://www.fact.on.ca/Info/pas/dunne.htm);
Hayward, A Guide to the Parental Alienation Syndrome (U.K.) (http://www.coeffic.demon.co.uk/pas.htm).