Parents Acting Badly: How Institutions and Societies Promote the Alienation of Children from Their Loving Families

Parents Acting Badly: How Institutions and Societies Promote the Alienation of Children from Their Loving Families

by Zeynep Biringen PhD

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Parents Acting Badly: How Institutions and Societies Promote the Alienation of Children from Their Loving Families by Zeynep Biringen PhD, Jennifer Harman PhD

Parental alienation affects as many as 22 million intact, separated, and divorced families in the U.S., and millions more worldwide. It is associated with severe trauma across multiple generations, including the destruction of healthy parent-child relationships, the larger family system, and social networks. Despite the sheer number of families and communities affected by this problem, many people (including professionals) either do not know what it is, actively deny its existence if they
have heard of it, or passively serve as bystanders while children become increasingly alienated from loving and adequate families.

In Parents Acting Badly, Drs. Jennifer Jill Harman and Zeynep Biringen provide a thorough analysis of how and why this family dynamic can insidiously gain momentum over the years, and how parenting stereotypes, gender inequality, and social institutions (such as family courts) all sanction and even promote the problem. Parents Acting Badly represents a paradigm shift in thinking about parental alienation--from a private issue to a public concern. The authors suggest new approaches to addressing this controversial problem that encompasses individual change, as well as social and institutional reforms. The understanding and prevention of parental alienation can help families, societies, and institutions protect the best interests of the child.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940157627683
Publisher: Colorado Parental Alienation Project
Publication date: 01/06/2016
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 240
File size: 297 KB

About the Author

Jennifer J. Harman, PhD. is an Associate Professor of Psychology at Colorado State University and is the Program Coordinator for the Applied Social & Health Psychology Program. She is an accomplished and awarded teacher, and has published many peer-reviewed articles and textbooks on intimate relationships, such as The Science of Relationships: Answers to your Questions about Dating, Marriage and Family. She is also a contributor to, a relationship science resource for the on-line community, and is interviewed as a relationship expert for many national and international media outlets (Chicago Tribune, the Denver Post, NY Magazine,, and the Irish Independent). She was motivated to write this book and apply her expertise in social psychology to better understand and find solutions for parental alienation because she has been a target of it herself.

Zeynep Biringen, PhD is a Professor in the Department of Human Development & Family Studies at Colorado State University. She is an award-winning mentor and researcher and has published peer-reviewed research in the areas of parent-child relationships (attachment, emotional availability) in intact as well as divorced families. She has also developed prevention programs to enhance parent-child and teacher-child relationships. She developed the Emotional Availability (EA) Scales which have now been used in all U.S. subcultures, as well as at least 25 countries around the world, and is now becoming popular in relation to understanding mother-child as well as father-child emotional availability in custody and child protection evaluations. She has contributed to popular magazines (Parenting, Prevention), and has been interviewed for television (Court TV) and radio. Her concern in parental alienation issues is the children: She believes parental alienation is a spectrum problem and that even subtle and insidious cases of such hostility can negatively impact children.

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