Parental Alienation (cont'd)

"It would create terrible confusion for the child. You could get a bit of Stockholm Syndrome where the victim identifies with that parent, he could feel tremendous guilt, feel that he's abandoned her, especially now that she's in jail."

When a parent engages in alienating behaviours, and if the child is abducted at a young age, "the child would become totally dependent on the mother ... would be vulnerable and susceptible to being brainwashed and accepting a very bold lie as truth."

Finlay said it would be important for the father to deal with his negative feelings about Valor's mother's actions "privately." (Taylor had a very public online presence appealing for Valor's return.)

"He may not recognize that the child may have loyalty to the mother, and genuine affection," said Finlay.

While this story has a happy ending, cases of parental alienation are notoriously difficult to resolve.

In 2008 an Ontario judge ordered a 13-year-old boy to be forcibly removed from his father and transported to the United States to the Family Workshop for Alienated Children to be deprogrammed of his negative attitude toward his mother.

When parents have a child, and either through divorce or a breakdown in a relationship must negotiate an entirely new set of shared parenting arrangements, they have to think with their heads, not their hearts, counsels Finlay.

"It's normal that this is a very, very difficult process," said Finlay. "You have to plan a future for your child with someone you may have negative feelings about, while going through a grieving process of your own."

Putting the child's needs first is most important. If the other parent makes access difficult or impossible, don't give up.

"As difficult as this is, your child needs to know that you're still trying and that will count for something as they get older."


This article by the Vancouver Sun is named, Boy's return to Canada means new set of challenges for family.