In extreme high conflict custody cases, a dynamic develops whereby one of the parents sets out to sever the children’s ties to the other parent. This is referred to as “parental alienation”. Five types of parental behaviour are hallmarks of parental alienation syndrome:
- Rejecting: The favoured parent rejects the child’s need for a relationship with both parents. The child fears abandonment and rejection by the favoured parent if he or she expresses positive feelings about the rejected parent;
- Terrorizing: The favoured parent bullies the child into being terrified of the rejected parent, and punishes the child if he or she expresses positive feelings about the rejected parent;
- Ignoring: The favoured parent withholds love and attention if the child expresses positive feelings about the rejected parent;
- Isolating: The favoured parent prevents the child from participating in normal social activities with the rejected parent and that parent’s friends and family;
- Corrupting: The favoured parent encourages the child to lie and be aggressive toward the rejected parent. In very serious cases, the favoured parent recruits the child to assist in tricks and manipulative behaviour intended to harm the rejected parent.
The Children’s Law Reform Act reinforces the idea that maximum contact with both parents is generally in the best interests of children, and that parents have an obligation not only to allow access, but to facilitate that access. If you fear that you are a victim of parental alienation contact me today at 647-428-3919 to learn your options.