Degrees of Parental Alienation

Degrees of Parental Alienation

Divorce is a difficult time for any family. There’s the underlying conflict motivating the split in the first place, there’s the enormous stress that such a large change imposes on parents and children alike, and there’s the accompanying anger that’s often enough encouraged by family court industry agents who profit from provoking additional conflict between parents.

Most children can deal with a bit of badmouthing between their parents, and the fact is they’ve probably already been exposed to it long before before the family separation takes place. 

However, child abuse and family violence begins when one parent weaponizes the children against the other parent and engages in a deliberate, systematic effort to erase that parent from their lives.

Mild Parental Alienation:

In mild cases of PA, the alienator parent seeks to strengthen his or her position through subtle programming and manipulation of the child’s reality.

Moderate Parental Alienation:

Alienators in the moderate category aren’t as fanatical as those in the severe category, but rage is nonetheless an important factor. Consequently, the moderate alienator can wage an intense campaign of deprecation in an attempt to alienate the children from the other spouse. The moderate alienator will often be very creative in obstructing visitation but will usually comply when faced with a fine or possible change in custody.

Severe Parental Alieantion:

Severe alienators are commonly obsessed with hatred for the other parent.  False accusations of sexual abuse often arise in severe alienation scenarios, and the severe alienator will exaggerate and twist almost anything a child says in order to support such allegations. Severe alienators exhibit the hallmark of paranoid thinking in that they don’t respond to reason, logic, or the obvious.*

*For a thorough description of alienator profiles, please see: “The Three Levels Of Parental Alienation Syndrome Alienators: Differential Diagnoses and Management”, Richard A. Gardner, M.D.