Parental Alienation Syndrome, Who Really Suffers the Most?

Posted: March 20, 2011 in family law
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Recently, a Chicago court granted Dwyane Wade, who plays for the Miami Heat, the sole ‘care, custody and control’ of his two sons with ex-wife, Siohvaughn Wade whom he separated from in August 2007 but was only officially divorced from in June 2010.  The divorce was a contentious one, to say the least.  Ms. Wade accused her husband of many things in the divorce, including abuse, adultery and giving her an STD.  She even went so far as keeping the children from him when he would arrive for the custodial exchange for his visitation time by locking the gate to her private driveway and not allowing anyone in.

Dwayne Wade

In June 2010, the court gave Dwayne Wade the temporary custody of their sons citing “The Court is troubled by the continuing pattern of (Siohvaughn Wade) to obey court orders when they go her way and disobey court orders when they do not.”   It should be noted that Ms. Wade went through nine attorneys in a two year period.  As someone who works in the legal field, this is a red flag to attorneys and their staff.

As stated above, on March 15, 2011, the Chicago court granted Dwayne full custody of the parties’ sons, stating “This court finds that (Siohvaughn Wade) has embarked on an unstoppable and relentless pattern of conduct for over two years to alienate the children from their father, and lacks either the ability or the willingness to facilitate, let alone encourage, a close and continuing relationship between them.”

So, who suffers the most in parental alienation?  The children do.  Courts recognize that in most cases, it is in the best interest of children to have both parents remain involved in their lives. Parental alienation syndrome (abbreviated as PAS) is a term coined by Richard A. Gardner in the early 1980s to refer to what he describes as a disorder in which a child, on an ongoing basis, belittles and insults one parent without justification, due to a combination of factors, including indoctrination by the other parent (almost exclusively as part of a child custody dispute) and the child’s own attempts to denigrate the target parent.

Parental alienation is a form of child abuse, is damaging to children and that it can affect them into adulthood.  Most cases of parental alienation syndrome are not associated with many accounts of physical abuse, but involves the mental manipulation and/or bullying of the child to pick between their mother or father.  The alienating parent is usually very adept at displaying what appears to be loving and nurturing conduct, but is intent on destroying the relationship between the child and the other parent (targeted parent).

Here are some indicators that your children are being affected by PAS:

  1. There is a campaign of denigration initiated by the alienating parent and involving the children;
  2. Weak, frivolous or absurd rationalization for the deprecation of targeted parent;
  3. Lack of ambivalence on the part of the children for their conduct with respect to the targeted parent;
  4. Children exhibit the “independent thinker” phenomenon – I.e., they attest to not being influenced by anyone;
  5. Reflexive support of the alienating parent;
  6. Absence of guilt; and
  7. Spread of animosity to the extended family of the targeted parent.

If you believe that PAS is affecting your children, the worst thing you could do is ignore it, hoping that it will go away!  The alienating parent will not stop the process until until there is intervention or the children are totally alienated from you.   Discuss your feelings about the possible alienation with your attorney, who can guide you on how to proceed through the court process in proving PAS.    For more articles and information on PAS, you can check out the references listed on Dr. Richard A. Warshak’s website.

You can also check out the Parental Alienation Awareness Organization (PAAO) for more information as well.  On April 25th, you can join PAAO in their 6th annual Parent Alienation Awareness Day.  For more information, go to PAAO. The PAAO also has the following video available on YouTube about PAS.

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  8. Elizabeth says:

    I’m glad this resulted in Wade getting custody. We have too many cases where this is the case, but I find that the Judge’s are hesitant to actually penalize mother for doing this. It’s nice to see perhaps a new trend of taking action rather than just sitting back and doing nothing.

  9. FZ says:

    Parental alienation is horrific. These cases seem worse: Divorce Related Malicious Parent Syndrome by Dr Dr. Ira Turkat

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