Ten parental alienation fallacies that compromise decisions in court and in therapy.
Warshak, Richard A. (2015)
False beliefs about the genesis of parental alienation and about appropriate remedies shape opinions and decisions that fail to meet children’s needs. This article examines 10 mistaken assumptions: (a) children never unreasonably reject the parent with whom they spend the most time, (b) children never unreasonably reject mothers, (c) each parent contributes equally to a child’s alienation, (d) alienation is a child’s transient, short-lived response to the parents’ separation, (e) rejecting a parent is a short-term healthy coping mechanism, (f) young children living with an alienating parent need no intervention, (g) alienated adolescents’ stated preferences should dominate custody decisions, (h) children who appear to function well outside the family need no intervention, (i) severely alienated children are best treated with traditional therapy techniques while living primarily with their favored parent, and (j) separating children from an alienating parent is traumatic. Reliance on false beliefs compromises investigations and undermines adequate consideration of alternative explanations for the causes of a child’s alienation. Most critical, fallacies about parental alienation shortchange children and parents by supporting outcomes that fail to provide effective relief to those who experience this problem. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved)