When Kids Need to Know Bad Things About a Parent
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Books, Articles, Videos, and Speeches by Dr. Richard A. Warshak

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CR27 - Bringing Sense to Parental Alienation:
A Look at the Disputes and the Evidence

This article, published in a prestigious law journal, is Dr. Warshak's most thorough examination to date of different ideas about pathological alienation and its status in custody litigation. It examines a continuum of opinions about parental alienation with reference to relevant scientific literature and is an attempt to introduce rationality in an area that suffers from polemics and politics.

Bringing Sense to Parental Alienation Journal Article Cover.Professionals agree that children can become irrationally alienated from a parent but disagree about what to call this problem and about how to conceptualize it. Dr. Warshak proposes that a conceptualization that emphasizes the influence of the favored parent, such as Parental Alienation Syndrome, has intellectual and scientific roots in developmental and cognitive psychology, particularly research on children's suggestibility. A conceptualization that emphasizes the role of multiple interrelated factors enjoys support in family systems theory that regards children's problematic behavior as an expression of family-wide dysfunction.

The article reviews available studies and concludes that the current status of research supports the prevailing opinion among mental health professionals that the court's authority is a key element in successful remedies of severe alienation. The article describes the possible advantages of the term "pathological alienation" and offers other suggestions for circumventing unproductive disputes and focusing on the welfare of families.

This article is essential for any parent, attorney, or mental health professional proposing or opposing evidence dealing with parental alienation. 29 journal pages.

CR27, journal article
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