Parental alienation syndrome is a growing concern paralleling the rise of divorce and children born out of wedlock over the past few decades. This relatively new phenomenon has spiked major disputes from both the legal and psychological communities as to how to identify and manage the condition.
Parental alienation syndrome (PAS) is considered “brainwashing” because one parent will routinely talk about the other parent to the child in a derogatory manner to the point that the child begins to harbor the same beliefs. This manipulative behavior can be highly destructive and can cause long-term detriment to parent/child relationships. It can also have a negative impact on the child’s psychological development.
However, neither parental alienation syndrome nor parental alienation disorder have been added to the latest addition of the DSM-V (The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders), creating more legal challenges for families with whom this effects. The DSM-V has made headways identifying similar components of PAS, such as deliberate coercive tactics to incite hostility and estrangement under the auspices of “child psychological abuse,” and “parent-child relational problem” but has yet to identify PAS by name.
Though Illinois does recognize the existence of parental alienation syndrome, there are not specific statutes in place to identify proof and what recourse to take. Even though the psychological community has not named parental alienation syndrome as a mental disorder, the long term psychological effects are apparent to anyone who has experienced the syndrome or is going through this type of experience. That is why lawmakers, family law attorneys and judges alike find it necessary to advocate on the child’s behalf and make sure the appropriate steps are taken to abate the abuse in such instances.
It is absolutely paramount to discuss any concerns regarding parental alienation syndrome with your family law attorney. Whether the behavior has been going on for years or has just recently begun, it is vital to seek intervention to salvage your chance of rectifying the situation. Furthermore, it may be helpful to seek professional treatment for the minor child in order to assist with the highly sensitive nature of this issue.