Losses experienced by children alienated from a parent
Author: Jennifer J.Harman, Mandy L.Matthewson, Amy J.L.Baker
Current Opinion in Psychology
Volume 43, February 2022, Pages 7-12
Parental alienation occurs when a child aligns with one parent and unjustifiably rejects the other as a result of parental alienating behaviors. This article provides an overview of current research and theory regarding the losses alienated children endure. Parental alienating behaviors alter the child’s beliefs, perceptions, and memories of the alienated parent, triggering a cascade of profound losses for the child. These losses include loss of individual self, childhood experiences, extended family, community, and activities and relationships essential for healthy development. Consequently, alienated children often experience ongoing and ambiguous losses and thereby suffer disenfranchised grief in isolation.