Thursday, 3 May 2012

Mr. Alec Baldwin and PAS - Part 1

As part of on-going professional development, I am always reading about Family Law, with a specific interest in the area of Post - Separation Parenting. A few weeks, Alec Baldwin’s “A Promise to Ourselves – A Journey Through Fatherhood and Divorce” with Mark Tabb caught my eye.
In his book, Mr. Baldwin recounts his painful experience of trying to maintain an involved parenting role in his daughter's, Ireland, life - despite numerous setbacks. A good deal of Mr. Baldwin’s book describes the pitfalls of the American legal system and specifically about how  “custody and access”, or what we refer to as Parenting Time in our office, is dealt with.

Mr. Baldwin directs his blame for his failed relationship with his only child not only a legal system which does not treat both parents equally, but also on the role that his former wife, Ms. Kim Basinger, played in interfering in Mr. Baldwin’s effort to maintain contact with young Ireland.
One chapter is dedicated entirely to the findings of Dr. Richard A. Gardner, MD, a clinical professor of child psychiatry at Columbia University who worked with children in custody disputes.  In “Recent Trends in Divorce and Custody Litigation”, published in 1985, Dr. Gardner introduced the term Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) and identified eight symptoms of PAS.
Parental Alienation Syndrome is a psychological disturbance “in which children are obsessed with deprecation and criticism of a parent – denigration that is unjustified and /or exaggerated”, wrote Dr. Gardner. PAS children see one parent as entirely “bad” and the other parent as “good”, and this rejection comes without any apparent justification.  But most important of all to note is that this disturbance occurs almost exclusively in divorce custody battles.
Sadly, PAS children not only seek to inflict emotional pain upon the target parent, they may go so far as to exhibit delusions of persecution and a fear of physical harm -- if they are forced to spend time with the target parent.

Over the next few blog entries, I will summarize the Eight Symptoms of Parental Alienation Syndrome.

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