Not only is the targeted parent denigrated, despised, and avoided but so are his or her extended family.Formerly beloved grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins are suddenly and completely avoided and rejected.There is no willingness or attempt to be impartial when faced with interparental conflicts.Children with parental alienation syndrome have no interest in hearing the targeted parent’s point of view.When questioned about the absent parent, these children may vehemently denounce the parent as “good riddance to bad rubbish.” The family of such a child may be maneuvering behind the scenes to exclude the other parent from the child’s school life by misrepresenting that parent’s intentions to school staff, withholding information from that parent to create the appearance of a lack of interest, and removing contact information from school records.
Even though alienated children appear to be unduly influenced by the alienating parent, they will adamantly insist that the decision to reject the targeted parent is theirs alone.
When alienated children are questioned about the reasons for their intense hostility toward the targeted parent, the explanations offered are not of the magnitude that typically would lead a child to reject a parent.
These children may complain about the parent’s eating habits, food preparation, or appearance.
These clients may be unaware of the meaning of the lost relationship and may even minimize its effect on their growth, development, and current mental health concerns.
Children referred to a school social worker for acting out or experiencing academic problems may casually reveal that they have no contact with a “hated” parent.