Indirect Court Order
Parental Alienation Syndrome is a term first introduced by child psychiatrist Dr Richard Gardner in 1985 to describe the signs of a child being turned against one parent through manipulation by the other. The idea that one parent could attempt to separate their child from the other parent as part of a divorce has been recognised since the 1940s, but Gardner was the first to define it as a syndrome. In his 1985 paper, he defined it as, "...a disorder that arises primarily in the context of child-custody disputes. Its primary manifestation is the child's campaign of denigration against the parent, a campaign that has no justification. The disorder results from the combination of indoctrinations by the alienating parent and the child's own contributions to the vilification of the alienated parent." 
 
Gardner has been criticised by legal and mental health professionals for lacking scientific reliability in his use of the term 'syndrome', however this does not detract from the basic fact that parental alienation exists, and it is becoming more common across family court cases, and yet the courts are reluctant to recognise this. It becomes obvious as you research this topic, that it is the fault of Gardner that parental alienation is not taken more seriously. His report contained many sources that were not what he claimed them to be. He cited fifty US cases as setting a precedent for parental alienation syndrome, but after independent review, it was found that none of these cases set such a precedent. This has made courts reluctant to use the potentially controversial concept of parental alienation syndrome, basing its decisions on parental behaviour and 'accepted psychological concepts and diagnoses'. This approach allows a court to consider parental behaviour without the need to discuss if parental alienation is a valid psychological construct, which was the belief of Gardner. 
 
The damage that Gardner's research has done to the credibility of parental alienation is extensive. It has created doubt in the minds of judges internationally that the accusation of parental alienation is often unfounded, and that the use of the term 'syndrome' casts those accusations further into uncertainty. We believe, however, that the concept of parental alienation is very much a real and prevalent condition. Whether or not it is a 'syndrome', that isn't for us to say, we are not doctors. We do, however, observe many experiencing parental alienation. The medical definition of a syndrome is "A set of symptoms or conditions that occur together and suggest the presence of a certain disease or an increased chance of developing the disease." 
 
A set of symptoms exist, and include: 
 
Extreme negative views towards the alienated parent. The child may also deny past positive experiences 
A lack of interest in improving the relationship 
Siding with the favoured parent, in spite of anything they do or say 
Lack of remorse for hurting the alienated parent 
Claiming to reject them with no influence from the other parent 
Repeating the other parents' words which they use towards you without understanding what they mean 
Becoming hostile towards the alienated parents' side of the family, and their friends 
 
These symptoms occur together, and suggest the presence of parental alienation, so why is the term 'syndrome' so controversial in the legal and medical professions in this circumstance? We have no medical degree, so there must be more to it, but it does not stop us from observing that parental alienation is a disease, and it is a disease that is spreading, as vindictive parents see how little the court does to combat it. 
 
How will these indoctrinated children react when they learn the truth? The likelihood of having both parents in their lives decreases dramatically the longer a campaign of alienation is allowed to continue. How many more children need to be affected before the courts start taking this seriously? Or is it easier to turn a blind eye... 
 
If you need support during family law disputes, contact us for a free consulation today. 
 
 
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