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The Pathology of Parenting

Love and stability are the cornerstones to providing a solid foundation for children. Parents strive to give their children all the understanding possible. Over the years, the psychiatric sphere has provided more and more insight into exactly what children need and how we as adults can provide it. Children learn from their parents through observation just as much as instruction, and that is why the actions and attitudes of parents are so important to children's development.


Pathogenic parenting and parental alienation are still hot topics today, though it is hard to deny their impact. One of the first authorities to research and speak on these topics is Dr. C.A. Childress, Psy. D. Dr. Childress' book "An Attachment Based Model of Parental Alienation: Foundations" provides a wealth of information in a small tome. Dr. Childress also authored a diagnostic checklist to assist parents in recognizing parental alienation, whether in themselves or the other parent. Understanding what behaviors contribute to pathogenic parenting can be invaluable in keeping your child from being wedged into the parental alienation trap; a trap that is stickier than any spider's web.


If you were in a relationship with or married to the other parent, you may have noticed signs about their interactions with you that were worrisome. It is more likely that pathogenic parenting may emerge in individuals who are narcissistic or have borderline personalities, those who had significant childhood trauma or who were abused themselves. It can feel overwhelming to confront as it requires not just seeking treatment for your child, but also for the other parent and yourself in order to keep the pattern from reestablishing and repeating itself. Prescott Legal has cultivated relationships with local experts in mental health who are willing to help.


Has your child exhibited confusing or delusional beliefs that seem to be based on the attitudes or experiences of the other parent? Has your child become distant and angry at you for seemingly no reason? Has your coparent decided it's "up to the child" whether they want to engage in timesharing with you? Has your child confused the events of their relationship with you with those of events which transpired between you and your coparent? While parental alienation and pathogenic parenting need to be diagnosed by professionals, these are starting points to guide you if you believe there may be a related issue.


Prescott Legal handles pathogenic parenting matters often. Many family law practitioners are not up to date on the research or simply do not want to take these difficult cases. We understand how important it is to take on though, for the mental and physical health of the children in the middle. Do you think you may be coparenting with a pathogenic parent? Is your child showing signs of parental alienation? We are here to help. Let us guide you, and together, we can help your child return to the business of just being a kid.




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