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Parental Alienation

Parental Alienation is a Ubiquitous Form of Child Abuse in Canada’s Family Courts

Monique Dietvorst is a super dedicated advocate to the cause of fighting all the misinformation regarding Parental Alienation. I recommend this article that she has recently penned.

What affects three times more children than autism? What affects 13 million US adults? The answer is parental alienation, a social pathology in the adversarial, for-profit family law system. Parental alienation refers to the experience of a child who has been influenced to reject and hate one parent by the other parent, and to parental behaviors that poison the child’s relationship with the other parent (Saini et al. 2016). Parental alienation is characterized as a form of “programming” of the child: an unjustified campaign of denigration against a parent resulting in the child’s unjustified rejection of that parent (Bernet & Baker, 2013). An international charitable scientific organization called the Parental Alienation Study Group (PASG) dedicates itself to researching this form of child abuse.

If a parent manipulates their child through gaslighting and coercive techniques and uses the child as a weapon to accuse the other parent in family court falsely, this is child abuse. This form of child abuse is nothing new. Long before researchers coined the term “parental alienation”, domestic violence research documented coercive control and the use of children as weapons. Aside from the research at the PASG and documented coercive control in domestic violence research, there is also a fabulous documentary on parental alienation by Ginger Gentile called Erasing Family. The film on YouTube shows its high financial and emotional cost and manufactured conflict of for-profit, “high conflict” divorce. Several special interest groups are currently spreading the misinformation that parental alienation is debunked. I think it is important to expose the financial conflict of interest that some of these special interest groups have to deny parental alienation. They deny parental alienation by citing a fraudulent “study” by J. Meier, who claimed that abusive fathers use alienation as a defense. The academic community does not accept J. Meier’s results. This study has a series of transparency problems, and the results cannot be replicated. The study is not peer-reviewed, the results cannot be replicated, processes were not transparent, and domestic violence groups funded it for a particular agenda.

The first special interest, the Canadian Bar Association, has blocked shared parenting defaults in Canada twice, although the polls show that most Canadians support a default of shared parenting. The Canadian Bar Association has a financial incentive to deny parental alienation and block shared parenting. False accusations (as billable hours) are ubiquitous in family court. Unnecessary custody battles can cost a single family hundreds of thousands of dollars. If Canada went to a default shared parenting system, and we decided that we no longer want to use children as weapons in family court, this would end a multi-billion-dollar industry.

Another special interest, the “gendered” violence activists, also spread misinformation about parental alienation. They never expose that the gendered violence industry is also worth billions of dollars. Since parents of all genders sometimes use their children as a weapon, parental alienation exposes that abuse is NOT gendered. Several recent news articles from gendered violence activists have promoted the Meier study and they refuse to acknowledge the lack of peer review and transparency problems of the fraudulent study.

A Canadian nonprofit called the Canadian Equal Parenting Council (CEPC) puts together the shared parenting bills for the Canadian federal legislature. With shared parenting defaults, we assume that if both parents were fit before the divorce, then both are fit after the divorce. We will only involve lawyers and a custody dispute if there is clear evidence of child abuse or neglect. Dr. Amy Baker, an international expert on parental alienation, estimates that 80 percent of the cases could be dramatically mitigated with a default of equal shared parenting. If both parents have equal power in the system, it will be much harder for a vindictive parent to block the other parent from picking the child up at school, deny medical information, and engage in other alienating behaviors.

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