Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Parental Alienation Syndrome and the DSM-5 (1 of 2)

Fathers & Families, the pro-shared parenting organization, is leading a campaign to include Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) in the fifth edition of the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders,” or DSM-5 (Campaign: Ask DSM to Include Parental Alienation in Upcoming Edition). Before inviting my readers to join the campaign, I would like stop and give a brief explanation of what the Parental Alienation Syndrome is.

The Parental Alienation Syndrome or PAS is a mental disorder that appears during divorce/separation and/or child-custody disputes, and its primary symptom is the child’s unjustified rejection against the non-custodial parent. It grows out of the brainwashing performed by the custodial parent, who turns his or her children against the other parent, destroying this way the attachment between the children and the target parent. PAS is a very common and well-documented phenomenon. Estimates of children with PAS are close to 200,000 children in the U.S., the same amount as children with autism.

The child also contributes to the disorder, denigrating the alienated parent, while giving frivolous reasons for his or her behavior, insisting that he or she alone came up with the ideas towards the alienated parent, and feeling obligated to protect the alienating parent.

Dr. Douglas Darnall describes three categories of alienating parents:

-The naïve alienators (mild): They are ignorant of what they are doing and are willing to be educated and change.

-The active alienators (moderate): When they are triggered, they lose control of appropriate boundaries.

-The obsessed alienators (severe): They are committed to destroying the other parent’s relationship with the child.

For more information on PAS, please refer to the following books:

Douglas Darnall. Divorce Casualties: Protecting Your Children from Parental Alienation

Jayne A. Major. Parents Who Have Successfully Fought Parental Alienation Syndrome

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this article and raising the visibility of parental alienation. Anyone interested in our parental alienation resources, including our book, A Family's Heartbreak: A Parent's Introduction to Parental Alienation, may visit our website at


    mike jeffries
    Author, A Family's Heartbreak: A Parent's Introduction to Parental Alienation