Monday, June 29, 2009

Evan Bayh Urges Responsible Fatherhood

Senator Evan Bayh introduced his Responsible Fatherhood and Health Families Act of 2009 in time for Father's Day. He talks about the legislation and his own experience as both a son and a father with MSNBC's Carlos Watson.

June 19, 2009

Bayh, Davis Introduce Legislation to Promote Healthy Families, Active Fatherhood

Washington—With one in three children in the United States living apart from their biological fathers, Senator Evan Bayh (D-IN) and Congressman Danny Davis (D-IL) are renewing their efforts to promote healthy families and support American fathers who are trying to earn a livable wage and take a more active role in the lives of their children.

Bayh today introduced his Responsible Fatherhood and Healthy Families Act of 2009, a bill cosponsored by then-Senator Barack Obama in the last Congress. Bayh’s bill is co-sponsored by Senators Blanche Lincoln (D-AK) and Roland Burris (D-IL).

Davis today introduced companion legislation in the House called the Julia Carson Responsible Fatherhood and Healthy Families Act of 2009, in honor of Representative Julia Carson, the late Indianapolis congresswoman who championed fatherhood reform throughout her long career.

“It is a sad and sobering fact that one out of every three kids in America will wake up this Father’s Day without their father present,” Bayh said. “Conceiving a child doesn’t make you a man, but raising one responsibly does. Unfortunately, absentee fathers have become a national epidemic. The result is that millions of American children are more likely to struggle in school and have emotional and behavioral problems.”

“The absence of fathers or a father figure often contributes to negative behavior in children and disrupts the normal pattern of social and emotional development,” Davis said. “In many instances it also limits the child’s ability to have necessary economic resources with which to feel secure.”

In the last 40 years, the number of children without fathers in America has more than quadrupled, from five million in 1960 to more than 24 million today. Nearly 30 percent of children in fatherless households have not seen their fathers in the past year, and only 40 percent have had contact with their father once or more in the last month.

Studies show that children without fathers in their lives are five times more likely to live in poverty and commit crime, nine times more likely to drop out of school, and 20 times more likely to end up in prison. They also are more likely to have behavioral problems, to run away from home, and to become teenage parents themselves. The bills offered by Bayh and Davis seek to support fathers trying to do the right thing and take steps to collect child support from non-custodial parents shirking their parental responsibilities.

Bayh added, “Our government spends $100 billion a year to deal with the fallout of absent fathers. The government can’t pass a law to make men good dads, but we can support local programs that specialize in job training, career counseling and financial literacy to help those men who embrace their parental responsibility and are trying to earn a livable wage to do right by their kids. I am glad President Obama is starting a national conversation to draw public attention to the critical role that fathers play in raising responsible, healthy adults.”

The legislation offered by Bayh and Davis will:

  • Fund job training programs and community partnerships to help parents find employment;

  • Fund financial literacy programs and budgeting education, employment services, and mediation and conflict resolution for low-income parents;

  • Ensure that child support payments to families do not count as income and result in loss of food stamps;

  • Restore cuts in federal child support enforcement funding to help state and local governments collect $13 billion in additional payments for single parents;

  • Require states to send 100 percent of all child support payments to the single parent within five years, rather than letting states take a portion of money for administrative costs;

  • Prohibit unfair and unequal treatment of two-parent families receiving Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), ensuring the state work participation standard is the same for all families;

  • Expand the Earned Income Tax Credit to increase the incentive for full-time work and fulfillment of child support obligations; and,

  • Fund programs designed to protect the families who have been affected by domestic violence.

Senator Bayh and Congressman Davis will attend a White House event today with President Obama to honor America’s fathers and urge men to play more active and constructive roles in their children’s lives.


Senator Evan Bayh — Senator for Indiana: News - Press Release.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Crespo v. Crespo Overturned, NJ Appeals Courts Rules Domestic Violence Law Constitutional

by Mark Godbey
June 24, 2009

Last Thursday, a New Jersey Appealate Court overturned the Crespo v Crespo decision, which denied a domestic violence restraining order bases on the New Jersey Prevention of Domestic Violence Act that uses the "preponderance of evidence" standard to justify such orders.

The appeals court ruled that the state statute does not violated federal and state constitutions, and the lower court made an error in stating the practices and procedures of the courts in NJ violated due process and the appellate court ruling in the Crespo v. Crespo, A-0202/0203-08, reverses a Hudson County judge's finding that the 20-year old statute, violates the separation-of-powers.

For the published opinion of the court see:

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Obama have pressured Brazil to obey the international laws

Sean Goldman is closer to being reunited with his father and coming home to New Jersey, but not close enough.

Sean was 4 years old when his mother took him to visit her homeland, Brazil. The mother, however, decided not to return to the family home in Tinton Falls. She remarried in Brazil and later died in childbirth. Sean is now 9 and living with his mother's husband. But that man has no custodial or parental rights over Sean. Those belong to his natural father, David, who has waged a 5-year battle to have his son returned.

David Goldman has enlisted the support of the state's congressional delegation. The House and Senate have passed resolutions demanding Sean's return under the terms of the Hague Convention. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Obama have pressured Brazil to obey the international laws. Rep. Chris Smith (R-4th Dist.) introduced a bill to temporarily remove Brazil from a $2.75 billion duty-free trade program.

On June 1, a court ruled Sean was better off living with his father in New Jersey and that his Brazilian relatives were causing him harm through parental alienation. Almost home! But hours later, a political party asked the country's top court to step in and the order was stayed. Brazil's Supreme Court eventually denied the request to overturn the lower court and sent the case to a federal court to decide the boy's fate.

The stepfather's family tried an appalling public relations maneuver this week, releasing a videotaped session with a psychologist in which Sean, surrounded by adults, says he'd be better off living in Brazil. The appeals court should give it no more weight than any other hostage's taped remarks. Under international law, Sean is a kidnap victim.

A decision by Brazil to return Sean to his father could help 2,000 other U.S. children wrongly taken out of the country. Time's awasting.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Anti-Parental Rights Bill on Texas Governor's Desk - We Need Your Help to Veto It !!

by Erin Casssity

Call Gov. Rick Perry to VETO SB 1440 - it is an Attack on your Parental Rights!
Your phone calls and emails are working. Keep calling until he vetoes it!

Call Gov. Perry at 512-463-2000 and voice your opposition to SB 1440.

You can also call the Texas Citizen's Opinion Line at 800-252-9600.

You can email your views at .

Another effective thing to do is to call your state rep or state senator and ask them to call upon Gov. Perry to VETO SB 1440.

Texas state reps: .

Texas state senators:

from Robert Morrow 512-306-1510 grassroots political activist

A wide variety of groups oppose SB 1440. These groups include conservative, libertarian and yes, even some liberal child advocacy groups such as the National Coalition for Child Protection Reform, NCCPR:

In addition to the NCCPR, other activist groups who OPPOSE SB 1440 and are asking Gov. Perry to VETO this attack on parental rights and threat to the well being of children are listed below. The critical problem with SB 1440 is that it would do away with a COURT HEARING for parents and their lawyers before CPS runs roughshod through your life. Many CPS complaints are false, bogus, exaggerated, and sometimes even malicious complaints by neighbors. Oftentimes, these are anonymous complaints as well.

A CPS investigation can be extremely traumatic not just parents but CHILDREN as well. It is critical that parents and/or their lawyers have the chance to appear before a judge to tell their side of the story BEFORE CPS has access to your child, removes your child for an interview, does naked strip searches of your child, snoops around your home or seizes your child's medical and school records.

SB 1440 would do away with the parents' side being heard before a judge; instead it would institutionalize EX PARTE hearings with only CPS present before a judge, in essence turning these hearings into rubber stamping affairs for CPS. THIS THREATENS PARENTS, CHILDREN AND FAMILIES. UNNECESSARY CPS INVESTIGATIONS ARE OFTEN EXTREMELY TRAUMATIC FOR FAMILIES!

Groups that OPPOSE SB 1440 and who are asking Gov. Rick Perry to VETO SB 1440:


(The above list is not all inclusive)

Links to learn more:

1) Tim Lambert's blog gives a super explanation:

2) Parent Guidance Center: (excellent web page)

3) NCCPR Child Welfare Blog:

SB 1064 by Senator Kirk Watson was filed early in the session, and it sought to allow CPS, in the course of an investigation of abuse or neglect, to get the medical or mental health records of children who are the focus of an investigation. In order for CPS to accomplish this, the person refusing to give the records and parents must be given notice and a court hearing and CPS must show "good cause" for the action before the court would order the release of said records to CPS.

However, the bill was substituted in committee for a very different SB 1064, which was passed out of the Senate and sent to the House. The new SB 1064 gave the court authority to force parents to give CPS access to the child and/or transport the child for "interview, examination and investigation," without a court hearing or notice to the parent. Worst of all, the language in the current statute that requires CPS to prove "good cause shown" was stricken. Thus this bill would allow CPS, during an investigation in which the parents would not waive their 4th amendment rights, entrance into their home, access to medical or mental health records of their children or transportation of the child, on the simple filing of an affidavit by a CPS worker with no hearing or opportunity for the parents or their legal counsel to present their case.

The reason that the committee substitute was not filed as the original bill is clear. It would have caused a firestorm of opposition for the wholesale destruction of parental rights in the course of an investigation of child abuse by CPS. When the bill was scheduled for a hearing in the House Human Services Committee, officials of the Parent Guidance Center - a pro-parent group that helps families who are under investigation by CPS - presented written testimony and signed witness cards in opposition to the bill. Strangely, that testimony and those witness cards were not entered into the record of the hearing on the bill.

On the last day of the session, Representative Patrick Rose, chairman of the House Human Services Committee, offered a floor amendment to SB 1440 (another bill by Watson), which was on the Local and Consent Calendar. The amendment offered by Rose was the language of committee substitute SB 1064, and since SB 1440 was considered non-controversial and the sponsor of the bill (Rose) agreed to the amendment, it was adopted on a voice vote, and the final language of SB 1440 includes the committee substitute language of SB 1064.

This whole sordid story is an example of how legislation that could never pass a public debate and vote in the Texas legislature can become law. I'm sure the intent of those seeking these changes is to protect children from abuse, but to allow this simply because it makes the process go faster is a gross abuse of parents' rights to protect their children. We hear stories on a regular basis of out of control CPS officials who regularly seek court orders without notice to parents who refuse to open their door and give CPS full access to their children. In fact, a story this week in Corpus Christi explains how a CPS worker made a false allegation of abuse for vindictive reasons. This bill, if it becomes law, will lead to abuse of innocent parents who are dealing with false accusations and simply seeking to protect their children.

SB 1064 -

Austin American Statesman blog:

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

'Contact' and Educational Attainment - Maternal Deprivation Debunked!

Professor Sir Michael Rutter (born 1933) is the first consultant of child psychiatry in the United Kingdom. He has been described as the "father of child psychology"[1]. Currently he is Professor of Developmental Psychopathology at the Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London and consultant psychiatrist at the Maudsley Hospital, a post he has held since 1966.


Rutter set up the Medical Research Council (UK) Child Psychiatry Research Unit in 1984 and the Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Centre 10 years later, being honorary director of both until October 1998. He was Deputy Chairman of the Wellcome Trust from 1999 to 2004, and has been a Trustee of the Nuffield Foundation since 1992.

Rutter's work includes: early epidemiologic studies (Isle of Wight and Inner London); studies of autism involving a wide range of scientific techniques and disciplines, including DNA study and neuroimaging; links between research and practice; deprivation; influences of families and schools; genetics; reading disorders; biological and social, protective and risk factors; interactions of biological and social factors; stress; longitudinal as well as epidemiologic studies, including childhood and adult experiences and conditions; and continuities and discontinuities in normal and pathological development. The British Journal of Psychiatry credits him with a number of "breakthroughs"[2] in these areas. Rutter is also recognized as contributing centrally to the establishment of child psychiatry as a medical and biopsychosocial specialty with a solid scientific base[3].

He has published over 400 scientific papers and chapters and some 40 books including 'Maternal Deprivation Reassessed' (1972) [4] which New Society describes as "a classic in the field of child care".[4] In this work he evaluated the maternal deprivation hypothesis propounded by Dr John Bowlby in 1951.[5].

Bowlby had proposed that “the infant and young child should experience a warm, intimate, and continuous relationship with his mother (or permanent mother substitute) in which both find satisfaction and enjoyment” and that not to do so may have significant and irreversible mental health consequences.

This theory was both influential and controversial. Rutter made a significant contribution, his 1981 monograph and other papers (Rutter 1972; Rutter 1979) comprising the definitive empirical evaluation and update of Bowlby's early work on maternal deprivation. He amassed further evidence, addressed the many different underlying social and psychological mechanisms and showed that Bowlby was only partially right and often for the wrong reasons.

Rutter highlighted the other forms of deprivation found in institutional care, the complexity of separation distress and suggested that anti-social behaviour was not linked to maternal deprivation as such but to family discord. The importance of these refinements of the maternal deprivation hypothesis was to reposition it as a "vulnerability factor" rather than a causative agent, with a number of varied influences determining which path a child will take.[6][4]

If you cannot see the video above, click on this link:

Monday, June 8, 2009

Bonding - Children's Rights to Their Father

from the website:

Professor Sir Michael Rutter, 13th March 2002
"Very many thanks for sending me a copy of your interesting and informative guide on 'even Toddlers Need Fathers'. I much appreciate your drawing my attention to it"

Bowlby, who developed the theory of maternal deprivation', claimed children would be less intelligent, or suffer a complete lack of social conscience or social relationships, which he described as 'affectionless psychopathy', if they were deprived of their mothers. It was left to Rutter, as well as others, to show that, 'most important of all there has been repeated findings that many children are not damaged by deprivation'. Therefore there is no legitimate reason fathers should not be allowed the same contact arrangements as mothers, even with small children.

However Bowlby's ideas were very popular a the time and 'Child Care and the Growth of Love', which was a version of his earlier work called 'Maternal Care and Mental Health', went on to be a best seller and translated into more than a dozen languages.

As a result of following precedents based on the 'Tender Years' doctrine the courts routinely give 'custody' of the child or children to the mother and allow some form of 'contact' with the father.

Bowlby was the UK version of Dr. Spock. Spock did not espouse a sexist theory, but the dramatic impact on children and the rampant narcissism which followed in his wake can be seen in America's lack of moral integrity in its treatment of children.

Barriers to Engaging Fathers in UK Schools and Family Services

Click on this link: if you cannot see the above YouTube video.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Bonding - The Attachment Theory - Fathers' Rights

If you can't see think link, try:

Children need both parents equally and 'even Toddlers Need Fathers' is intended to help fathers who want to maintain a parental relationship with their child or children through the courts. The former Home Secretary, and dad, David Blunkett wrote an unsolicited letter in which he said,
"I am very grateful to all those, like yourself who have written and particularly where you have been able to demonstrate your own thinking from the experiences you have had. Congratulations on your battle"
'even Toddlers Need Fathers' includes a critique of a psychological theory prevalent throughout the UK family courts which discriminates against fathers. Known as the theory of 'maternal deprivation' it is more commonly referred to in family proceedings as the 'Tender Years' doctrine. The internationally acknowledged authority on children's welfare Professor Sir Michael Rutter said, "Very many thanks for sending me a copy of your interesting and informative guide on 'even Toddlers Need Fathers'. I much appreciate your drawing my attention to it"

A 2009 UK government review of the Department for Children, Schools and Families policies found, little or no explicit recognition of fathers in terms of legislation, including acts of parliament, regulation and statutory guidance and standards. The authors of the review noted, "Substantial barriers to improving engagement with fathers in family services exist in relation to: recognition and support for fathers in national policy; the workforce and delivery in family services; and the wider attitudes and behaviours of fathers and mothers in society."

It would be churlish to imagine these same atttudes do not extend to the UK family courts and you can find out more about the 'Tender Years' doctrine and the other 'barriers' that prevent fathers maintaining a parental role from a series of video clips on the evenToddlers YouTUBE Channel described below. There is also a section on this website entitled, Winning 'Frequent and Substantial' Contact, which outlines some of the arguments and evidence that may be presented to a family court judge to support an application for contact or shared parenting;-

Friday, June 5, 2009

Severe Sociopath Behavior Leads to Parental Alienation

Sometimes I wonder why such dysfunctional adults can be allowed to make decisions regarding children, but the secret to success for those who are parental abusers, (also known as "alienating parents") is their appearance of being absolutely normal on the surface. However, bubbling below the surface and now quite so well hidden is their true psychological profile, which psychological testing reveals. Oftentimes they call themselves "protective parents" or "survivors" or "battered" and viciously blame the courts for turning children over to "abusers." But when asked why the "abusive" parent is not in jail, the sociopath quickly describes "payoffs", "bribes" and "court corruption" with "collusion" thrown in to save the "abuser" and to "ignore" the evidence.

Parental alienators will deliberately make up falsehoods, deceive, delay, and play the "victim" in custody proceedings and do so with a sly and manipulative cunning that is best described as sociopath behavior. Like Hitler and the Nazis, these sick individuals enjoy controlling others and "winning," and creating an environment of hostility and bitterness. Although outwardly they may be seen as successful, charming and winning in the careers, "these ordinary people who have no conscience--no capacity to feel shame, guilt, or remorse--can do absolutely anything to other people without ever feeling guilty . . . These sociopaths learn early on to show sham emotion, but underneath they are cold as a snake and live to dominate and win." from "The Sociopath Next Door" by Dr. Martha Stout. Dr. Stout estimates that 4% of our population can be described as sociopaths. And, she says that may be a conservative estimate.

Which means between 16 to 40 million Americans are seriously ill and can be classified Sociopaths..

I am reprinting Dr. Richard A. Garnder article here, which partially describes some of the sociopathic behavior of Parental Alienators. The complete original article can be found here:

by Richard A. Gardner. M.D.
Department of Child Psychiatry, College of Physicians and Surgeons
Columbia University, New York, New York, USA

Child custody evaluators commonly find themselves confronted with resistance when they attempt to use the term parental alienation syndrome (PAS) in courts of law. Although convinced that the patient being evaluated suffers with the disorder, they often find that the attorneys who represent alienated parents, although agreeing with the diagnosis, will discourage use of the term in the evaluators’ reports and testimony. Most often, they will request that the evaluator merely use the term parental alienation (PA). On occasion they will ask whether other DSM-IV diagnoses may be applicable. The purpose of this article is to elucidate the reasons for the reluctance to use the PAS diagnosis and the applicability of PA as well as current DSM-IV substitute diagnoses.

Diagnoses Applicable to Alienating Parents

297.71 Delusional Disorder

1. Nonbizarre delusions (i.e., involving situations that occur in real life, such as being followed, poisoned, infected, loved at a distance, or deceived by spouse or lover, or having a disease) of at least 1 month’s duration.

Of the various subtypes of delusional disorder, the one that is most applicable to the PAS:

Persecutory Type: delusions that the person (or someone to whom the person is close) is being malevolently treated in some way

This diagnosis is generally applicable to the PAS indoctrinator who may initially recognize that the complaints about the behavior of the alienated parent are conscious and deliberate fabrications. However, over time, the fabrications may become delusions, actually believed by the programming parent. And the same process may ultimately be applicable to the child. Specifically, at first the child may recognize that the professions of hatred are feigned and serve to ingratiate the child to the programmer. However, over time the child may come to actually believe what were originally conscious and deliberate fabrications. When that point is reached the delusional disorder diagnosis is applicable to the child. Generally, this diagnosis is applicable to relentless programmers who are obsessed with their hatred of the victim parent, by which time the child will have probably entered the severe level of PAS. It is to be noted that when the PAS is present, most often one observes a circumscribed delusional system, confined almost exclusively to the alienated parent. This diagnosis may also be applicable to the PAS child, especially the child who is in the severe category.

301.0 Paranoid Personality Disorder

1. A pervasive distrust and suspiciousness of others such that their motives are interpreted as malevolent, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by four (or more) of the following:

1. suspects, without sufficient basis, that others are exploiting, harming, or deceiving him or her

2. is preoccupied with unjustified doubts about the loyalty or trustworthiness of friends or associates

3. is reluctant to confide in others because of unwarranted fear that the information will be used maliciously against him or her

4. reads hidden demeaning or threatening meanings into benign remarks or events

5. persistently bears grudges, i.e., is unforgiving of insults, injuries, or slights

6. perceives attacks on his or her character or reputation that are not apparent to others and is quick to react angrily or to counterattack

7. has recurrent suspicions, without justification, regarding fidelity of spouse or sexual partner

PAS programmers who warrant this diagnosis would often satisfy these criteria before the marital separation. A detailed history from the victim parent as well as collaterals may be important because the programming parent is not likely to directly reveal such symptoms. They may, however, reveal them in the course of the evaluation, because they are such deep-seated traits, and are so deeply embedded in their personality structure, that they cannot be hidden. Most people involved in protracted child-custody litigation become "a little paranoid," and this is often revealed by elevations on the paranoid scale of the MMPI. After all, there are indeed people who are speaking behind the patient’s back, are plotting against them, and are developing schemes and strategies with opposing lawyers. This reality results in an elevation of the paranoid scale in people who would not have manifested such elevations prior to the onset of the litigation. We see here how adversarial proceedings intensify psychopathology in general (Gardner, 1986), and in this case, paranoid psychopathology especially. The PAS child is less likely to warrant this diagnosis. When the severe level is reached PAS children may warrant the aforementioned Shared Psychotic Disorder diagnosis. On occasion, the diagnosis Schizophrenia, Paranoid Type (295.30) is warranted for the programming parent, but such patients generally exhibited other manifestations of schizophrenia, especially prior to the separation. It goes beyond the purposes of this paper to detail the marital symptoms of schizophrenia which should be investigated if the examiner has reason to believe that this diagnosis may be applicable.

It is important for the examiner to appreciate that there is a continuum from delusional disorder, to paranoid personality disorder, to paranoid schizophrenia. Furthermore, in the course of protracted litigation, a patient may move along the track from the milder to a more severe disorder on this continuum.

301.83 Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)

A pervasive pattern of instability of interpersonal relationships, self-image, and affects, and marked impulsivity beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:

1. frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment.
Note:Do not include suicidal or self-mutilating behavior covered in Criterion 5.

2. a pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation

3. identity disturbance: markedly and persistently unstable self-image or sense of self

4. impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging (e.g., spending, sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, binge eating).
Note Do not include suicidal or self-mutilating behavior covered in Criterion 5.

5. recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, or threats, or self-mutilating behavior

6. affective instability due to a marked reactivity of mood (e.g. intense episodic dysphoria, irritability, or anxiety usually lasting a few hours and only rarely more than a few days)

7. chronic feelings of emptiness

8. inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling anger (e.g., frequent displays of temper, constant anger, recurrent physical fights)

9. transient, stress-related paranoid ideation or severe dissociative symptoms

Some alienators may exhibit some of these symptoms prior to the separation. However, as a result of the stresses of the separation, the symptoms may progress to the point where the diagnosis is applicable. Criterion (1) is likely to be exhibited soon after the separation because the marital dissolution is generally associated with real feelings of abandonment. Criterion (2) is often seen when there is a dramatic shift from idealization of the spouse to extreme devaluation. The campaign of denigration is the best example of this manifestation of BPD.

Criterion (4) may manifest itself by excessive spending, especially when such spending causes significant stress and grief to the alienated parent. Following the separation, alienating parents may satisfy Criterion (6) with affect instability, irritability, and intense episodic dysphoria. Although such reactions are common among most people involved in a divorce, especially when litigating the divorce, patients with BPD exhibit these symptoms to an even greater degree. Chronic feelings of emptiness (Criterion [7]) go beyond those that are generally felt by people following a separation. Criterion (8) is extremely common among PAS programmers. The tirades of anger against the alienated parent serve as a model for the child and contribute to the development of the campaign of denigration. The stress-related paranoia, an intensification of the usual suspiciousness exhibited by people involved in litigation, may reach the point that Criterion (9) is satisfied.

The examiner should note which of the symptoms are present and comment: "Five criteria need to be satisfied for the BPD diagnosis. Ms. X satisfies four. Although she does not qualify for the diagnosis at this point, she is at high risk for its development. Furthermore, when one lists diagnoses at the end of the report one might note the DSM-IV diagnosis and add in parenthesis "incipient."

301.81 Narcissistic Personality Disorder

A pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:

1. has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements

2. is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love

3. believes that he or she is "special" and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)

4. requires excessive admiration

5. has a sense of entitlement, i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations

6. is interpersonally exploitative, i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends

7. lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others

8. is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her

9. shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes

My experience has been that most PAS indoctrinators do not satisfy enough criteria (five) to warrant this diagnosis. However, many do exhibit three or four of them, which is worthy of the examiner’s attention and should be noted in the report.

Criterion (5) is especially common in PAS indoctrinators. They act as if court orders have absolutely nothing to do with them, even though their names may be specifically spelled out in the ruling. Unfortunately, they often violate these orders with impunity because courts are typically lax with regard to implementing punitive measures for PAS contemnors. As mentioned in other publications of mine (Gardner, 1998; 2001), the failure of courts to take action against PAS programmers is one of the most common reasons why the symptoms become entrenched in the children.

Criterion (6) is often frequently satisfied by the programmer’s ongoing attempts to extract ever more money from the victim parent, but feels little need to allow access to the children. There is no sense of shame or guilt over this common form of exploitation. The programmer’s lack of empathy and sympathy for the victim parent is quite common and easily satisfies Criterion (7). The PAS, by definition, is a disorder in which a programmer tries to destroy the bond between the children and a good, loving parent. In order to accomplish the goal, the alienator must have a serious deficiency in the ability to empathize with the target parent. Criterion (9) is often seen in that PAS indoctrinators are often haughty and arrogant and this symptom goes along with their sense of entitlement. Again, if warranted, the diagnosis can be listed as "incipient."

DSM-IV Diagnoses Applicable to PAS Children

312.8 Conduct Disorder

1. A repetitive and persistent pattern of behavior in which the basic rights of others or major age-appropriate societal norms or rules are violated, as manifested by the presence of three (or more) of the following criteria in the past 12 months, with at least one criterion present in the past 6 months:

This diagnosis is often applicable to the PAS child, especially in situations when the conduct disturbances are the most salient manifestation. Under such circumstances, an examiner who is not familiar with the PAS may erroneously conclude that this is the only diagnosis. Such a conclusion necessitates selective inattention to the programming process, which is the hallmark of the PAS. Once again, we see here how a diagnosis, although in DSM-IV, cannot be used as a substitute for the PAS, but may be used as an additional diagnosis. I will not list here all 15 of the DSM-IV criteria, but only those that are most applicable to the PAS:

Aggression to people and animals

1. often bullies, threatens, or intimidates others

2. often initiates physical fights

3. has used a weapon that can cause serious physical harm to others (e.g., a bat, brick, broken bottle, knife, gun)

4. has been physically cruel to animals

5. has stolen while confronting a victim (e.g., mugging, purse snatching, extortion, armed robbery)

Destruction of property

6. has deliberately engaged in fire setting with the intention of causing serious damage

7. has deliberately destroyed others’ property (other than by fire setting)

Deceitfulness or theft

8. often lies to obtain goods or favors or to avoid obligations (i.e., "cons" others)

9. has stolen items of nontrivial value without confronting a victim (e.g., shoplifting, but without breaking and entering; forgery)

Serious violations of rules

10. has run away from home overnight at least twice while living in parental or parental surrogate home (or once without returning for a lengthy period

As can be seen, most of the 15 criteria for the conduct disorder diagnosis can be satisfied by PAS children, especially those in the severe category. The target parent is very much scapegoated and victimized by PAS children. In severe cases they are screamed at, intimidated, and sometimes physically assaulted with objects such as bats, bottles, and knives. The child may perpetrate acts of sabotage in the home of the victim parent. Destruction of property in that person’s home is common and, on rare occasion, even fire setting. Deceitfulness is common, especially fabrications facilitated and supported by the alienator. Stealing things, such as legal documents and important records, and bringing them to the home of the alienator is common. Running away from the home of the target parent and returning to the home of the alienator is common, especially in moderate and severe cases.

309.21 Separation Anxiety Disorder

1. Developmentally inappropriate and excessive anxiety concerning separation from home or from those to whom the individual is attached, as evidenced by three (or more) of the following:

I reproduce here those of the eight criteria that are applicable to the PAS:

1) recurrent excessive distress when separation from home or major attachment figures occurs or is anticipated

4) persistent reluctance or refusal to go to school or elsewhere because of fear of separation

3) repeated complaints of physical symptoms (such as headaches, stomachaches, nausea, or vomiting) when separation from major attachment figures occurs or is anticipated

It is important for the reader to appreciate that the original diagnosis for separation anxiety disorder was school phobia. The term separation anxiety disorder is a relatively recent development emerging from the recognition that the child’s fear was less that of the school per se and much more related to the fear of separation from a parent, commonly an overprotective mother (Gardner, 1985b). DSM-IV recognizes this and doesn’t necessarily require the school to be the object of fear, but rather separation from the home, especially from someone with whom the child is pathologically attached.

It is important to note that the PAS child’s hatred of the victim parent has less to do with actual dislike of that parent and has much more to do with fear that if affection is displayed toward the target parent, the alienating parent will be angry at and rejecting of the child. At the prospect of going with the victim parent, the child may exhibit a wide variety of psychosomatic symptoms, all manifestations of the tension associated with the visit. The distress may be especially apparent when the alienating parent is at the site of the transfer. The child recognizes that expression of willingness or happiness to go off with the alienated parent might result in rejection by the alienator. The separation anxiety disorder diagnosis is most often applicable to the mild and moderate cases of PAS. In the severe cases, the anxiety element is less operative than the anger element.

When applying these criteria to the PAS child, one does well to substitute the PAS indoctrinating parent for the parent with whom the child is pathologically attached. At the same time one should substitute the alienated parent for the school or other place outside the child’s home. When one does this, one can see how most of the aforementioned criteria apply. When the child with a separation anxiety disorder is fearful of leaving the home to go to many destinations, the school is the destination the child most fears. It is there that the child feels imprisoned. In contrast, PAS children generally fear only the target parent and are not afraid to leave the programming parent and go elsewhere, such as to the homes of friends and relatives. In short, the PAS child’s fear is focused on the alienated parent. In contrast, the child with a separation anxiety disorder has fears that focus on school but which have spread to many other situations and destinations.

300.15 Dissociative Disorder

Not Otherwise Specified

This category is included for disorders in which the predominant feature is a dissociative symptom (i.e., a disruption in the usually integrated functions of consciousness, memory, identity, or perception of the environment) that does not meet the criteria for any specific Dissociative Disorder. Examples include:

States of dissociation that occur in individuals who have been subjected to periods of prolonged and coercive persuasion (e.g., brainwashing, thought reform, or indoctrination while captive).

Of the four categories of dissociative disorder (NOS), only Category 3 is applicable to the PAS. This criterion was designed for people who have been subjected to cult indoctrinations or for military prisoners subjected to brainwashing designed to convert their loyalty from their homeland to the enemy that has imprisoned them. It is very applicable to PAS children, especially those in the severe category.

Such children have been programmed to convert their loyalty from a loving parent to the brainwashing parent exclusively. Cult victims and those subjected to prisoner indoctrinations often appear to be in a trance-like state in which they profess their indoctrinations in litany-like fashion. PAS children as well (especially those in the severe category) are often like robots or automatons in the way in which they profess the campaign of denigration in litany-like fashion. They seem to be in an altered state of consciousness when doing so.

Adjustment Disorders

The following subtypes of adjustment disorders are sometimes applicable to PAS children:

309.0 With Depressed Mood.

309.24 With Anxiety.

309.28 With Mixed Anxiety and Depressed Mood.

309.3 With Disturbance of Conduct.

309.4 With Mixed Disturbance of Emotions and Conduct

Each of these types of adjustment disorders may be applicable to the PAS child. The child is indeed adjusting to a situation in which one parent is trying to convince the youngster that a previously loving, dedicated, and loyal parent has really been noxious, loathsome, and dangerous. The programmed data does not seem to coincide with what the child has experienced. This produces confusion. The child fears that any expression of affection for the target parent will result in rejection by the alienator. Under such circumstances, the child may respond with anxiety, depression, and disturbances of conduct.

313.9 Disorder of Infancy, Childhood or Adolescence Not Otherwise Specified

This category is a residual category for disorders with onset in infancy, childhood, or adolescence that do not meet criteria for any specific order in the Classification.

This would be a "last resort" diagnosis for the PAS child, the child who, although suffering with a PAS, does not have symptoms that warrant other DSM-IV childhood diagnoses. However, if one still feels the need to use a DSM-IV diagnosis, especially if the report will be compromised without one, then this last-resort diagnosis can justifiably be utilized. However, it is so vague that it says absolutely nothing other than that the person who is suffering with this disorder is a child. I do not recommend its utilization because of its weakness and because it provides practically no new information to the court.

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