According to Dr. Douglas Darnall, parental alienation (PA, as it is called) is one of the most common after effects of divorce.
Dr. Darnall and other family and marriages therapists describe parental alienation as a pattern of behavior where “a child has a good relationship with one parent — to the exclusion of the other parent. The child expresses positive feelings for one parent, and negative feelings for the other parent — meaning the child is missing the range of emotions that most kids have for their parents.”
When one parent is the victim of PA, he or she enters a tug-of-war for the reasonable affections of his or her child. The alienating parent uses everything within his or her grasp to manipulate the child and poison the well of his or her affections. PA diminishes the quality of the parent-child relationship.
In the face of PA, the alienated parent must redouble his or her efforts with the child. The parent can tell the child he or she loves him or her and seek to become more involved in the child’s life.
He believes parents can recognize the causes of PA and minimize its damaging effects.
In his book Parental Alienation, Dr. Darnall presents “specific techniques for recognizing and reversing the effects of alienation including a self-report inventory to help parents assess their own alienating behavior and exercises to help them understand and modify it.”