Parental Alienation Syndrome: What Is It, and Who Does It?

Parent alienation syndrome

Parental alienation syndrome, a term coined in the id 1980’s by child psychiatrist Dr. Richard A. Gardner,occurs when one parent attempts to turn the couple’s children against the other parent.  A parent who is angry at the spouse or ex-spouse accomplishes this estrangement by painting a negative picture of the other parent via deprecating comments, blame and false accusations shared with the children.  They may also hoard the kids, doing all they can to thwart the other parent’s parenting time.

In my clinical practice, the mother most often has been the alienating parent, turning the children against their Dad. At the same time, I also have had multiple families in which Dad is the toxic parent, poisoning the children against their mother. In general, the alienating parent is the least emotionally healthy, and often the more wealthy (to be able to afford legal challenges).

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