After separation or divorce, children may resist or reject contact with a parent for many reasons. The term “alienation” is used to refer to a situation “where the child's rejection or resistance of a parent is disproportionate to the child's actual experiences with that parent and the parental separation.” In other words, the child's reaction is inconsistent with the child's own actual observable experience and involves to some extent alienating strategies and behaviors on the part of the favored parent (or perhaps other family members or siblings). This introductory chapter discusses the prevalence of alienation, the prevalence of alienation in community samples, and increase in the number of alienation cases.
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