What is the Difference between Parental Alienation and Realistic Estrangement?

What is the Difference Between Alienation and Realistic Estrangement?

What is alienation?

In an article by Dan Goldberg and Elizabeth McCarty, they state a common theme of alienation is “a child is expressing extreme negative feelings about a parent that are not supported by their experiences”.  In plain language, this essentially means that one parent is influencing the feelings of the child toward the other parent in a negative way.

However, what if a parent’s behaviour is the result of a child’s negative feelings and has nothing to do with the other parent’s influence at all?

What is Realistic Estrangement?

Goldberg and McCarty refer to a term called “realistic estrangement”. They describe this term as “adults can be so focused on their own issues that they ignore this perspective; they are not able to examine their own behavior and the impact on the relationship”.  This essentially means that a parent may not be aware that it is their actions and their relationship with their child that may be the cause of any negative feelings.

It can be difficult to sort through the differences of these two terms when families are in the middle of dealing with separation and divorce, custody, access, equalization and all the various changes that are occurring.

So is it alienation or realistic estrangement? As stated earlier, many factors need to be considered and SMP Law is there to help SiMPlify any questions you may have.

Contact us anytime at SMP Law to help SiMPlify your legal matter at 905-565-9494 or email info@smplaw.ca if you have any questions or would like to book an appointment to meet and discuss your situation and how we can help.

[Source: Dan Goldberg, Senior Counsel, Office of the Ontario Children’s Lawyer, Toronto & Elizabeth McCarty, Counsel, Office of the Ontario Children’s Lawyer, Toronto. “Representing Children in Parental Alienation Cases”]