I have just completed an informative book on a subject that is near and dear to my heart. The title is CHILDREN HELD HOSTAGE: IDENTIFYING BRAINWASHED CHILDREN, PRESENTING A CASE, AND CRAFTING SOLUTIONS by Stanley Clawar and Brynne V. Rivlin.
I cannot overstate how common brainwashing occurs during a divorce. Divorce can be so emotionally damaging to the parties, and the parent(s) are in such a traumatized mental state that oftentimes a parent attempts to brainwash the child/ren without even realizing he/she is doing it. Some parents are so fueled by emotions that he/she indoctrinates the child/ren through actions and words. He/she is unable to separate his/her own retaliatory needs from the child’s needs. I have seen brainwashing occur so severely that the child/ren have actually become suicidal.
Brainwashing is intensive propaganda techniques applied through coercive persuasion designed to make the child question his/her own beliefs about the “target parent” and the child adopts emotions, opinions and beliefs of the programming parent. It is designed to create sympathy for the programming parent and guilt feelings in the child. The brainwashing parent asks the child to keep secrets from his/her other parent. It places the child in the middle of the divorce, and forces the child to “choose a side.”
If repetitive brainwashing is occurring in a case that rises to a certain level, the Court needs to be made aware. Furthermore, mental healthcare providers need to become involved. For the sake of the child. Children need to see BOTH parents in a positive figure in his/her life.
Some signs to look for include:
· the child shows stress or anxiety when time for a visit nears
· the child states he/she does not like to go to father/mother’s home, but cannot state why
· the child cannot identify any positive characteristics of the target parent
· the child identifies with the programming parent in statements. for instance, “we” feel this way, or in “our” home, or the target parent hurt “us”….
· the child knows too many of the facts that caused the breakdown on the marriage
· the child makes statements like “Dad just bought a new car but Mom is poor.” or “Dad is not paying his child support.”
Children are too often the true losers in a divorce. The damages to children are oftentimes permanent. Sometimes it takes a knowledgeable attorney to discuss potential parental alientation with a Judge. Call today for a consultation.