"The man as he converses is the lover; silent, he is the husband." ~ Honore de Balzac


Parental Alienation and Lies...Evidence Ignored by Family Court Judges

167 Red Flags or Examples of Parental Alienation

Father? What Father?

Parental Alienation and Its Effect on Children

By Chaim Steinberger

Part One Preface 

“[A] twelve-year study commissioned by the Family Law Section of the American Bar Association of over 1,000 divorces found that ‘parental alienation,’ the programming of a child against the other parent, occurs regularly, sixty percent (60%) of the time, and sporadically another twenty percent.”

There is no doubt that every child needs “frequent and regular” contact with both parents to develop in a psychologically healthy manner.2 A custodial parent is, therefore, obligated by law to ensure the continued relationship between the child and the non-custodial parent.3 The Appellate Division, Second Department, explained why frequent contact is needed between them: Only [with frequent contact] may a non-custodial parent provide his child with the guidance and counsel youngsters require in their formative years. Only then may he be an available source of comfort and solace in times of his child’s need. Only then may he share in the joy of watching his offspring grow to maturity and adulthood. . . . 

Indeed, so jealously do the courts guard the relationship between a non-custodial parent and his child that any interference with it by the custodial parent has been said to be “an act so inconsistent with the best interests of the children as to, per se, raise a strong probability that the [offending party] is unfit to act as custodial parent.” . . . The decision to bear children, [moreover], entails serious obligations and among them is the duty to protect the child’s relationship with both parents even in the event of a divorce. Hence, a custodial parent may be properly called upon to make certain sacrifices to ensure the right of the child to the benefits of visitation with the noncustodial parent. The search, therefore, is for a reasonable accommodation of the rights and needs of all concerned, with appropriate consideration given to the good faith of the parties in respecting each other’s parental rights.4 

Nevertheless, a twelve-year study commissioned by the Family Law Section of the American Bar Association of over 1,000 divorces found that “parental alienation,” the programming of a child against the other parent, occurs regularly, sixty percent (60%) of the time, and sporadically another twenty percent.5 New York courts have in the past “zealously protected” the non-custodial parent’s visitation rights against interference by the custodial parent.6 Custodial parents seeking to exclude the other parent have, therefore, taken to socially and psychologically turning the child away from the other parent so that the child, and not the custodial parent, refuses the visitation. 

This type of “alienation” has been characterized by the Second Department as a “subtle and insidious” form of visitation interference that may cause even “greater and more permanent damage to the emotional psyche of a child” than the garden variety visitation interference.7 This article will summarize the leading literature in the field of alienation. Part One will review the different techniques employed by alienating parents to marginalize and exclude the other parent from their children’s lives. It will set out the most common symptoms of alienation so that the reader will be more attuned to recognize and deal with potential alienation, and counsel clients who are effected by it. 

Finally, it will describe the profound and enduring devastating psychological, emotional and social consequences alienation has on its primary victims—the children. Part Two of the article will appear in a subsequent issue and describe the effective treatments for alienation, and how New York courts have traditionally and recently dealt with the issue. Because alienation has such profound inter-generational consequences, judges and lawyers must be ever-vigilant to detect and deal with alienation, no matter the guise by which it is concealed. 10 NYSBA Family Law Review | Spring 2006 | Vol. 38 | No. 1

The Alienating parent will exhibit specific behaviors, signs and symptoms than those of the children and the target parent. The following examples of Alienators behavior are called Red Flags. The more of these a parent exhibits or enacts, the higher the probability of PAS occurring.

Below is a list of over 150 most often used tactics to alienate children from a parent. A score of 10 or more is an indicator of PAS.

  1. Impeding with visitation, despite orders.
  2. Denigrating the other parent in front of anyone who will listen, including the children, as well as calling the TP orstep-parent derogatory names in front of the child.
  3. Filing allegations of abuse while constantly dragging the ex into court for child support or alimony.  (Note: A truly abused individual wants to have nothing to do with the abuser, making face-to-face confrontation out of the question.)
  4. Stopping any contact with the children and the ex’s extended family or friends who disagree with them
  5. Believing that they are above the law, and that all orders/laws were made for everyone else but them.
  6. Impeding Communication with the children, including blocking access to school records and meetings and events.
  7. Grilling the children about their visit, asking the children to spy or collect evidence.
  8. Refusing visitation because the ex spouse has been unable to afford the child support or not made a payment.
  9. Statements of constant hatred and vengeance about the ex-spouse
  10. Refusal to disclose their home address
  11. Refusal to supply or keep the other parent in the loop on medical issues, educational issues, events pertaining to the child/ren and so on.
  12. Continually referring to the child as their own children and not the spouses.
  13. Continually not enforcing the visitation with the other parent by claiming the children do not want to go (Barring no true abuse is truly going on) and using the excuse that they are not going to force the children to go see their other parent if they do not want to.  (Appendix A, No. 3)
  14. Impeding any court orders, including Counseling orders.
  15. Moving the children away from a parent they once had a loving relationship with, and thus making visitation and a relationship next to impossible.
  16. During visitation times, constantly calling the house, to speak with the child/ren or leaving nasty disruptive messages.
  17. On days that TP is in a public place the parent shows up to either push, swear at or just intimidate them or the stepparent in front of the child.
  18. Making the child feel emotional responsible for the parent's happiness so that the child is as protective as an adult might be towards a young child.
  19. Lying or even involving the child in the divorce proceedings and custody or child support issues.
  20. Making the child feel uneasy about talking to their therapist or other official person.
  21. Having the child call his non-custodial parent by his/her first name; instead of Daddy or Mommy
  22. Preventing the children from contacting their father by pulling the phone out of the wall, changing their phone number, refusing to allow them to accept calls, refusing to allow them to make phone calls or lying and claiming the children are not home or are asleep.
  23. Discussing and involving the children in court, child support and other legal matters, which they should not be involved in.
  24. Insisting that the children call the new person in the AP's life "Mom or Dad"
  25. Escalating PASing behavior if the NCP commences a new relationship
  26. Insisting that the children NEVER call a stepparent “mum” or “dad”.
  27. Hanging up the telephone if discussions do not follow “their” agenda
  28. When the child is allowed to speak to the TP on the telephone the PASing parent will oversee the call, instructing the child on what to say and how to respond to the TP and force the end of the call if either child or TP fail to conduct the call as the PASing parent deems appropriate.
  29. Deliberately pulling the children away if they meet the target parent out i.e. at the shops.
  30. Avoiding children’s activities i.e. school events as the target parent may be there
  31. Previous evidence of anger management issues
  32. Poor family support network or a family network that supports the PASing behavior
  33. Refuse to communicate via fax, email or letter as to do so will provide evidence in the form of a paper trail of their activities.
  34. Will wait until the last minute to inform the target parent of changes to visitation.
  35. Will feel it is their right to provide the children for visitation late but insist the children MUST be returned to the exactly on time.
  36. Will not provide any information to the target parent about the children’s day-to-day activities but will insist on knowing exactly what the target parent will be doing with the children whilst they are with the TP.
  37. Will choose to pay others to provide childcare and not utilize the TP even if it would be more suitable for all parties.
  38. Will claim the child is too sick to visit the target parent.
  39. Will claim the TP is not capable of parenting the child “Properly”
  40. Cause the child to feel guilt about wanting to see their other parent
  41. Avoid, at all costs, using a neutral drop off / pick up location
  42. Refuse to allow the TP any contact with ‘Professionals’ who are in support of the PASing parent
  43. Not allowing the children to participate in activities, where they may come into contact with children associated with the TP.
  44. Will instruct the school that the TP is not to be trusted, inferring or clearly stating that the TP has lied to others about the PASing parent and children, including putting notes in school files about not allowing contact or pick up by Targeted Parent.
  45. If cornered about providing TP’s information for school records, Protective Services or any other official, the PASing parent will give false or misleading information.
  46. PASing parent has removed pages from a child’s classroom journal that fail to support PASing parent’s ideology and/or support the TP.
  47. Totally controlling the children’s social life
  48. Becoming overly involved with the children’s activities i.e. cub leader, parent support worker so that they are constantly with the children and keep the other parent from attending these activities.
  49. Lie to the children about the separation/divorce including by giving details that are ‘obviously’ untrue which deliberately impede the child’s ability to love the other parent i.e. dad spends all his money on his girlfriends so I can’t afford to let you go to camp.
  50. Involve the children in all the aspects of the separation, divorce and on going legalities whilst claiming the child has the ‘right’ to know what is happening
  51. Claiming the TP is victimizing, stalking, abusing, and harassing them to the point of actually involving the police.  Filing of false allegations of abuse,  making false and repeatedly harassing complaints to child protective agencies, police and others so as to constantly put the Targeted Parent under attack and investigation.
  52. Encouraging the child to support the PASing parent to lie to authorities on how they are treated when with the TP even though there is no evidence of poor treatment, but just  the reverse.
  53. Encourages the child to be defiant, to go on strike, to not comply with the reasonable rules when in the presence of TP.
  54. PASing parent deliberately organizes ‘activities’ for the children on the TP’s visitation time i.e. parties, outings and social gatherings.
  55. The PASing parent will use bribery and enticements to prevent a child from visiting with the TP, and make the child feel guilty for wanting to be with the TP rather than attend an event the PASing parent has organized to happen during TP visitation time.
  56. Not allowing the children to have photos of or objects provided by the TP in the house.   The PASing parent will destroy any gifts, photo’s etc should the child bring them home.
  57. When the child receives gifts from the TP and takes them home to show the PASing parent, the PASing parent refuses to allow the child to take them back to the TP’s house or keep them.
  58. PASing parent refuses gifts from the TP and his family, actually making the children return them saying they are no good or cheap or useless and so on.
  59. PASing parent will deliberately condemn the target parent’s gifts or purposely purchase them ahead the target parent so that the target parent’s gift is meaningless.
  60. The PASing parent changes the child’s surname to the ‘new dads’ name without asking or notifying the birth father.
  61. PASing parent will attend TP’s family functions without prior invite despite ‘knowing’ that their behavior will be viewed negatively.    The PASing parent will use this negativity to inform the children of the TP’s family’s hatred of them.
  62. Refuses to pick up the telephone when the child is calling from the TP’s residence.
  63. Insist that when the child is with the TP that they have the ‘right’ to excessive telephone contact with the child, yet allow the TP to have little to no telephone contact.
  64. Deliberately changed the telephone number and maintaining a ‘silent’ number without notifying the TP or providing the TP with the number.
  65. The PASing parent tells the child that ‘they hope they will be OK when with the TP, that they shouldn’t need to go to hospital, etc. thus creating an image of fear for the child when with the TP.
  66. Telling the child that “Something” may happen to the PASing parent whilst the child is with the TP.
  67. Demanding the TP pay for extra costs associated with child rearing i.e. Orthodontic work.
  68. Informing the child that they cannot have ‘braces’ or other essentials because the TP won’t pay for it.
  69. Refuse a child’s request to spend extra time with the TP, even when this time is for a one off special occasion.
  70. Refusing to send the child to school for events when the PASing parent becomes aware that the TP will be attending.
  71. Removing money placed in the child’s bank account by the TP and not allowed the child to spend it or has not spent it on the child.
  72. Tells the child in a deliberately malicious and vindictive manner that a behavior the child is / has done is similar to the TP.
  73. PASing parent will excessively emphasize the physical and facial features that are similar to the PASing parent and associated family and ignore or deny features associated with the TP.
  74. PASing parent refuses to allow the child to take a pet on visitation with TP even though TP is happy and willing to accommodate the pet.
  75. PASing parent has deliberately moved without providing TP details prior to the move.
  76. PASing parent has deliberately moved and refuses to provide TP with appropriate details.
  77. PASing parent allows a person contact with the child contrary to the TP’s wishes especially when the TP has reasonable grounds for their concern, i.e. domestic violence, previously proven abuse.
  78. The child undergoes or has undergone unnecessary surgical procedures without the prior knowledge or consent of the TP when there is evidence supporting the TP’s position.
  79. The PASing parent attempts to bribe, extort or threaten the TP into signing court documents that will exclude the TP from the child’s life or enhance the PASing parent’s position.
  80. The PASing parent has expressed a desire for the TP to be dead, die or be killed, or severely injured.
  81. The PASing parent has expressed a desire for the TP and other family members / friends associated with the TP to suffer some major mishap or injury.
  82. The PASing parent attempts or succeeds in changing the child’s religion.
  83. Told the child they can’t see the other parent because they are behind in their child support payments.
  84. Is unjustly rude and refuses to work co-operatively with the new partner of the other parent for the benefit of the child.
  85. Has refused of failed to provide mental health support for the child when there is reasonable evidence to support the child needs and would benefit from mental health intervention.
  86. Refusing to allow the child to participate in weekend sporting / developmental classes as the other parent would be present during the child’s attendance for part / half of the time.
  87. Parent has attempted to bribe officials, specialists and professionals to act / report in the favor of that parent even when there is evidence to the contrary.
  88. Parent has deliberately mislead, lied or concealed information or evidence to further his or her own case.
  89. Parent has physically assaulted the target parent in the presence of the child.
  90. Parent has forged, altered or tampered with official documentation to further his or her own case.
  91. The parent has submitted false and misleading statements to the police about the target parent and their family that that parent knew in advance to be false and misleading.
  92. Has displayed anger / verbal abuse concerning the target parent in front of the child or third party.
  93. attempted to or actually assisted the child to write letters / notes or to delivery same to the target parent 
  94. Encouraged the child to support them in their allegations against the target parent despite obvious evidence disputing claims made by both parent and child.
  95. Coaching, threatening or intimidating the child to remain silent about incidents the child has witnesses that do not support the custodial parent.
  96. Threatening or punishing the child for saying positive things about the target parent.
  97. Refused to provide the child for DNA testing when requested to do so.
  98. Deliberately cause alienation between siblings when one supports the custodial parent and the other the target parent.
  99. Told the child that the other parent does not love him or her that the other parent never wanted the child to be born.
  100. Told the child about intimate details pertaining to the marriage, which are inappropriate and done in a way to deliberately cause distress to the child.
  101. Has refused to share prescribed medication with the other parent during access.
  102. Alienator insists that the target parent’s extended family is not the children’s “real family” or that they are no good.
  103. Alienator tells the child(ren) that they have been replaced by the TPs new partner.
  104. Alienator tells the child(ren) that they have been replaced by children born to the TP and any new partner – whether or not children have been born.
  105. Alienator tells the child(ren) that they have been replaced by the TP’s new partner’s child(ren) and that they are therefore not wanted or loved by the TP.
  106. Alienator denigrates all statements, answers, discipline and activities of the TP with regard to their child(ren).
  107. Alienator frequently suggests to the child(ren) that the TP and/or new partner will do harm to the child(ren).
  108. Alienator demands that the TP be subjected to and accept blame for any injury incurred by the child however minor and natural in the course of life.
  109. Alienator forces the child to report minor injuries, bumps and bruises from play to a professional person as being the result of the TP and/or new partner.
  110. Alienator shaves off the child’s hair when the cut is provided by the TP stating that the cut is bad and the hair ruined.
  111. Alienator refuses the TP to comfort the child when injured in play.
  112. Alienator demands medical intervention for minor illnesses (ie. Demanding antibiotics for colds) and play injuries.
  113. ator undertakes “doctor shopping” until a practitioner sympathetic to their cause is found.
  114. Alienator does not comply with appropriate medical advice from practitioners who are not sympathetic to their cause.
  115. Alienator actively damages (cutting, tearing or staining) clothing provided for the child by the TP.
  116. Alienator refuses reasonably required medical treatment where the TP has sought review for a serious medical condition, which impairs the child or causes them to suffer.
  117. Alienator allows the child to undertake activities after separation from TP, which were previously refused and blames the TP for denying the child such activities.
  118. Alienator refuses to allow the child(ren) time alone with other adults or children.
  119. Alienator refuses to allow children to attend sleepovers with friends accusing friends parents of abuse.
  120. Alienator refuses to allow sleepovers stating that they ‘do not want the children to see how others live.”
  121. Alienator frequently tells the child(ren) that TP will harm them, has mental health problems etc. creating a fear of the TP.
  122. Alienator informs the child(ren) that the TP has a criminal record for harming children.
  123. Alienator will not allow the child(ren) to undergo any medical or psychological assessment without being present.
  124. Alienator informs the child(ren) that they were unwanted by the TP and that the TP insisted that pregnancy be terminated.
  125. Alienator insists that TP’s family never accepted she or the children and insisted that the pregnancy (ies) be terminated.
  126. Alienator blames TP for poor food quality, housing quality and/or availability of funds even where child support is paid and/or alienator contact is minimal.
  127. Alienator blames TP and new partner for stealing home, food, resources from the Alienator and child(ren).
  128. Alienator ignores the child(ren) when they discuss activities with the TP.
  129. Alienator becomes angered when the child(ren) discuss activities with the TP.
  130. Alienator becomes angered when the child(ren) express a desire to see/phone the TP.
  131. Alienator becomes angered when child(ren) engage in mother’s/father’s day activities at school which are focused on the TP.
  132. Alienator becomes angered when child expresses desire for contact with TP to school teachers/mates/colleagues.
  133. Alienator removes child from school and relocates child without cause if the child expressed a desire for contact with TP.
  134. Alienator informs child(ren) that TP is happier without them.
  135. Alienator informs child(ren) that TP does not love them anymore, is never going to see them again, does not want them any more.
  136. Alienator accuses the child(ren) of causing rifts/separation in the marriage. 
  137. Alienator informs child(ren) that TP is leaving THE CHILD(REN) rather than the marriage or the alienator.
  138. Alienator accuses the TP of infidelity in earshot of the child(ren).
  139. Alienator writes letters ‘on behalf’ of the child(ren) claiming that the child(ren) have had input.
  140. Alienator actively seeks to ensure that children believe that TP sends no letters, gifts or monies.
  141. Alienator removes and destroys any items sent to the child(ren) through an outside facility (ie. School, grandparent). This usually occurs on leaving the facility and appearing publicly to accept the items for the child.
  142. Alienator actively destroys and discards any gifts or letters that the child(ren) do see.
  143. Alienator insists that the child(ren) refer to TP using only a derogatory term (ie. The Bastard) 
  144. Alienator presents school teachers/principals with falsified documents/letters from practitioners or the AP.
  145. Alienator pawns the TP’s personal and private belongings citing financial hardship to the child(ren).
  146. Alienator pawns or returns to the retailer, gifts from TP citing financial hardship to the children.
  147. Alienator takes every opportunity to belittle the TP, in the presence of the child(ren), when seeking assistance from welfare agencies and providers.
  148. Refuses to provide TP with vital medical information thereby impeding the child(ren)s medical wellbeing.
  149. Refusing to notify TP of identified allergies.
  150. Refusing to notify TP of medical concerns or treatments for child(ren)
  151. Accuse TP of stealing items the child has lost.
  152. Attributing failure in school activities/studies to TP.
  153. Accusing TP of neglecting the child(ren).
  154. Denies essential medical care or treatment on the basis of financial hardship caused by TP.
  155. Consumes drugs, cigarettes, or alcohol and blaming TP for addictions.
  156. Purchases personal luxuries whilst denying children essentials and blaming TP for financial hardship.
  157. Refusing to allow child to bid TP goodbye after visitation with any affection shown in front of Alienator.
  158. Makes derogatory noises/comments when child or TP exhibit affection in presence of alienator.
  159. Accuses TP of displaying affection to child(ren) for ulterior motive.
  160. Accuses TP of PAS behaviours.
  161. Denigrates new partner or partner’s children to PAS children.
  162. )Makes accusations of abuse against TP’s new partner. 
  163. Makes accusations of abuse against TP’s extended family.
  164. Makes accusations of abuse against TP’s consequent children or children of new partner.
  165. Contacts TP’s extended family in presence of child(ren) to make false allegations of abuse/neglect/PAS.
  166. Refuses to allow child to give gifts/notes/paintings/letters to TP, new partner, children or extended family.
  167. AP is constantly rude, nasty, controlling and dictates when, where and what the TP can do with the kids during their time.  This attitude is also permeated to the children who are rude, nasty, controlling and dictate when, where and how they will spend their time with the TP.


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"So live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart. Trouble no one about their religion; respect others in their view, and demand that they respect yours. Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all things in your life. Seek to make your life long and its purpose in the service of your people. Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide. Always give a word or a sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend, even a stranger, when in a lonely place. Show respect to all people and grovel to none. When you arise in the morning give thanks for the food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself. Abuse no one and no thing, for abuse turns the wise ones to fools and robs the spirit of its vision. When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song and die like a hero going home." (Tecumseh).

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