Saturday, April 28, 2007

Piggy dearest it's International PAS day .

Piggy dearest
April 28, 2007

Alec Baldwin and his daughter, Ireland.
Photo: AP

A special day places the spotlight on the sort of parenting skills associated with your average celebrity, writes Raymond Gill.

DID YOU KNOW that last Wednesday was an important national day? Not Anzac Day. That's fine and all. Soldiers and stuff, but, you know, time to move on.

More importantly, it was also the day marked in countries around the world as Parental Alienation Awareness Day. To be more specific it was the Parental Alienation and Hostile Aggressive Parenting Awareness Day (PA-HAPAD).

It may sound like some kind of rights group invented by a scriptwriter for the purposes of an emotionally manipulative and politically worthy movie of the week, but no, this is real life founded by the appropriately named Sarvy Emo in the US - obviously.

Parental Alienation is a condition considered by the Parental Alienation Awareness Association to be a form of child abuse whereby children - whatever their age, even 58 - have been emotionally manipulated by one parent to get at another. This is the case where one of their (divorced or divorcing) parents is a selfish, manipulative, lunatic - so that accounts for statistically 90 per cent of all divorces.

In the US the heartbreak this syndrome causes runs particularly deep, because - as we know from TV and movies - it deprives Americans the inalienable right to blubber: "Daddy/Mommy I Looove You!!!!" each time they get into the Hummer to hit the shopping mall.

PA-HAPAD in Australia this week was, according to, marked with "posting flyers and putting advertisements in local papers" while, in Canada, activists blanketed a fence in Yellowknife "by hanging three plywood signs that read: Stop Parental Alienation".

In the US it was a much, much bigger deal as victims' stories of PA syndrome were unleashed across the media.

This second annual PA-HAPAD might not have the attention it deserved if not for the Alec Baldwin incident last weekend when the actor called his 11-year-old daughter Ireland a "thoughtless little pig" in a phone message that you can now download as a ringtone on your phone, or hear as the really cool "Alec Baldwin Father of the Year Mega-Mix" on

As the PAA website reminds us, the "selfish, vindictive and malicious actions by the alienating parent" leaves its victims "disturbed, confused, frightened and robbed of their sense of security and safety". The really nasty parent is never you of course but the manipulative, money-grubbing monster with whom you are locked in a custody battle. Which for Alec happens to be his ex, actress Kim Basinger, who last time anyone checked in on her was lying on the floor in front of a fridge eating strawberries off Mickey Rourke in 9 1/2 Weeks.

While Americans, it seems, are quite relaxed about the effects of handguns and small rockets, not to mention eating fruit off the floor, they will not tolerate parents scolding their children. While they are willing to forgive Mel Gibson for anti-Semitic rantings, calling a brat a brat is verboten.

All week, US blogs and websites have gone ballistic as the country takes he-said-she-said sides over whether Kimbo or Alec is the bigger pig in the issue but where does this leave the piggy in the middle, little Ireland?

For some, Alec's outburst was - as any self-respecting children's rights organisation will declare - completely inappropriate. But as anyone will know who has supplied a 12-year-old with an expensive mobile phone that somehow is never audible or charged, or on the child when you want to talk to them, or has been programmed with a ringtone alerting the kid the call is from a parent they don't want to talk to, then "pig" is a relatively mild term, in fact it's almost a term of endearment.

Alec Baldwin could not get through to his child, literally or figuratively and Kimmy was too busy Fed-Exing her answering machine tape to gossip website to help. Life sure is tough for "slebs" who are judged so much more harshly than mortals.

It's perhaps the patron saint of all celebrity parents, Joan Crawford, who was most vilified - posthumously - for her parenting skills courtesy of the Mommie Dearest tell-all. But did anyone ever stop to think that wooden coathangers are better than wire ones?


Mom said...

Parental Alienation Syndrome is not currently considered a syndrome by the American Psychological Association, American Medical Association, or any other legitimate mental health organization. The organizations officially take no position on its existence. Most mental health professionals do not consider the disorder legitimate; some argue that it is often an excuse to allow abusers to escape responsibility for their actions. The disorder has no diagnosis code in the current DSM, and it appears that it will not be included in the next edition of the DSM. It has also been rejected by parts of the legal community, stating that is "discredited" and that its use should not be admissible in the courtroom. It has been criticized as "junk science" and lacking in empirical studies to back up its existence. Concerns that Parental Alienation Syndrome can be misdiagnosed and used by abusive parents as a weapon against appropriately protective parents in order to win custody have been raised by the APA and Gardner amongst others. In 1988, Gardner wrote:
Unfortunately, the term parental alienation syndrome is often used to refer to the animosity that a child may harbor against a parent who has actually abused the child, especially over an extended period. The term has been used to apply to the major categories of parental abuse, namely, physical, sexual, and emotional. Such application indicates a misunderstanding of the parental alienation syndrome. The term is applicable only when the parent has not exhibited anything close to the degree of alienating behavior that might warrant the campaign of denigration exhibited by the child.

In a 1996 report, the APA communicated concern that custody evaluators "may accuse [the mother] of alienating the children from the father and may recommend giving custody to the father in spite of a history of violence."
In particular, empirical research suggests that there is very little false reporting of physical or sexual abuse of children during divorce or custody disputes. Gardner's formulation itself has received criticism. According to Kenneth H. Waldron, Ph.D. and David E. Joanis, J.D., "Gardner's conceptualization of the problem and the dynamics underlying the problem proved at best incomplete, if not simplistic and erroneous. He portrays the alienating parent as virtually solely responsible for the dynamic, turning the vulnerable child against the innocent target parent." It has been stated that the parental alienation syndrome should not be admitted in court, due to evidentiary and causation problems with its theory and due to the dangerous feeling of reliability and believability in this self-published theory.

dad4justice said...

My recently deceased mother and four surviving damaged children are testimony that PAS is a lethal weapon encouraged by evil workers in the DE FAMILY COURT OF LIES !!!