Sunday, January 04, 2009

Mediation and parental alienation........"My way or the highway"

Are you a target parent that has been ordered to attend mandatory mediation? Are you a target parent that has attended mandatory mediation? Are you an alienating parent that has attended mandatory mediation? If so I would like to hear your thoughts about it.

Mediation in theory is a great idea. It costs less and both parties get a say, they get to work through problems, compromise and for the most part both parties come away feeling satisfied that they could resolve their issues and found an acceptable agreement. Both parties can have the sense of empowerment over their decisions and many times the divorcing couples may find that they have a better relationship post divorce because of mediation. Oh what a wonderful world we live in. If this was the answer to all divorce cases.

Mediation can work and does work in many divorce/custody cases and I would advise anyone to seek this route, BUT, if there is moderate to severe parental alienation, I can not suggest this route. In cases where parental alienation is mild, mediation MAY work, but only if your mediator is versed in parental alienation. Neither party may be aware that parental alienation is happening and this is where a good mediator will come in. I believe that mild alienators can be helped and would be open to counseling. I think that mild alienators have the best interests of the child in mind. I do not think their intention is to ruin the relationship between the child and other parent. In moderate cases, the alienator knows they are saying negative things about the other parent, but cannot help themselves. Counseling may help in these cases, but I think the line between moderate and severe can be crossed very easy without some professional intervention.

In cases of severe alienation, mediation is a waste of time, energy and money. The severe alienator will refuse to budge on any issue you bring up for compromise. They will fabricate stories and the mediator may tell you that you are being unreasonable and to compromise. You will either have to hold your ground or have to make compromises that you are not comfortable with. Target parents have no say, no issues that are compromised and they end up accepting less than desirable terms. Holding your ground will not be futile either. You realize very quickly that again you are experiencing abuse, but this time, the alienator has others on their side. This is when you realize that "guilty until proven innocent" really is the motive in the "system". No, I did not type that phrase wrong either. Alienators present their case so well and fool everyone. You are guilty of many of the accusations because everyone believes them. Proving your innocence is a long and exhaustive road.

So, in closing I would like to state that I think mediation works in many cases of divorce and should be utilized, but in cases where there is a moderate to severe alienating parent, this option does not and will not work. Mediation in theory is an excellent choice and should be utilized where both parties are capable to compromise. The mediator needs to be versed in parental alienation as well. The other point I would like to make is that many states are now leaning towards mandatory mediation in divorce/custody cases and unless there are mediators who are very well versed in parental alienation, the cycle of abuse will continue by the so called system. As target parents, I think we should band together to change this.

Parental alienation is abuse! Stop the abuse!


  1. Unfortunately, yes, mediation requires both parents be grownups and be actiing in the best interests of the child. What a horrible place to be, when that isn't happening. An attorney with lots of experience in family law has written a book about trying to resolve custody conflicts, which is a side issue, of course. It's "Stop Fighting Over the Kids." Great tips for parents and professionals alike -- hopefully, many mediators and attorneys and counselors will have it on their shelves. And he offers proven tips and techniques to dial down the conflicts. There's even a youtube video demonstrating how it works.

  2. Hmmm -- the link to the video didn't work. You can get to it from the Stop Fighting Over the Kids web site. Sorry...