We have blogged in the past about parental alienation and "Parental Alienation Syndrome." There was an excellent article in US News and World Report on line posted on October 29, 2009. To read the article, click here. To view some of our prior posts on this topic, click here and here.
The article discusses a movement afoot to add "parental alienation" to the next addition of the DSM (ie. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) published by the American Psychiatric Association. The new edition is scheduled to be published in 2012.
While there appears to be little debate on whether parental alienation in both subtle and not so subtle forms goes on, there is a debate as to whether it represents a mental illness. On top of that, there is concern that certain opposition to visiting with a parent could either be age appropriate (eg. a teenager being oppositional) or otherwise justified. The people of this view are concerned that making parental alienation a mental illness could be invoked by an abusive parent to gain visitation with a child that has good reason to oppose contact.
No matter where you stand on the debate as to whether parental alienation is a mental illness, it is clear that alienating behavior in whatever form, big or small, cannot be good for the children that are exposed to it.