Parental Alienation

Parental alienation occurs after a divorce or separation when a child expresses unjustified hatred or unreasonably strong dislike of one parent, making access by the rejected parent difficult or impossible.  These feelings may be influenced by negative comments by the other parent and by the characteristics, such as lack of empathy and warmth, of the rejected parent.  The term does not apply in cases of actual child abuse, when the child rejects the abusing parent to protect themselves. Parental alienation is controversial in legal and mental health professions, both generally and in specific situations.  Terms related to parental alienation include child alienation, pathological alignments, visitation refusal, brainwashing, pathological alienation, the toxic parent and parental alienation syndromethough the last term is a specific formulation of a medical syndrome proposed by psychiatrist Richard Gardner that is not well accepted

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