When a parent perpetrates a sustained attack upon the relationship between a child and another parent, it is not unusual that the children eventually go along with it in order to avoid becoming a target themselves. It is no secret that children are impressionable, and no secret either that parents loom large in the life of a child. Who has more pull than a parent of a young child, who has time and energy to devote to manipulating the child? And who could be more vulnerable than that child?
The alienating parent resorts to a couple of standard tools in their arsenal, one of them being the “kids’ choice” tool. Once the tide has turned in favor of the alienating parent, against the targeted parent, then the alienating parent can go to court, or for that matter anyone, and demand the children be heard. If a child decides to not see the parent, then something extraordinary happens: the authorities acquiesce.
That is right, you read that correctly. If a kid refuses to go to school, refuses to come home after dark, smokes dope and steals then society places limits on that child. Why? It’s called being an adult. But when a child refuses to see another parent, and there is virtually no evidence other than the statements of the child and the parent whose self-interest is apparent, the courts punt. They set the matter out until counseling is resolved, or until a therapist is appointed (and if that therapist spots the alienating behavior and calls that parent out, the sessions are cut short and the therapist is fired). I have seen cases where, after years of well-documented alienation, identified by mediators in the family courts, a mother pleading with the Judge to let her see her son, and the court, without even a nod of acknowledgment concerning the tremendous, horrifying pain and suffering says “we aren’t going to set a review date”.
Once PA is identified, the clock is ticking and parents have very little time to get in and stop it. If the court doesn’t accept that reality, then the PA becomes more entrenched and worse.