Men's Affordable Resources Society of British Columbia                                          MARS BC


"It"It is a relatively unknown fact that the most reliable predictor of crime is neither poverty nor race, but growing up fatherless"s

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Current Research

Current research is just beginning to identify and catch up to the social changes around our family structure that have taken place in the last number of decades. The major victims in all of this are our children. They are being placed at risk and deprived of two parents, not only by alienating parents, but also by a legal system which fails to understand the implication of Parental Alienation and is ill equipped to deal with it.



Prepared by Theo J. Boere, Co-President MARS BC

         Parental Alienation is a distinctive family response to divorce in which the child becomes aligned with one parent and preoccupied with unjustified and/or exaggerated denigration of the other, target parent. In severe cases, the child's once love-bonded relationship with the rejected/target parent is destroyed.

  Since first being identified by Dr. Richard Gardner as Parental Alienation Syndrome or PAS, much controversy has surrounded PAS, as to whether it is really an identifiable syndrome.. Debate continues to rage as to its legitimacy as a real syndrome, but it is not our intention to enter into that debate. Whether it is identified as Parental Alienation Syndrome, or simply as parental alienation, or a multitude of other related psychiatric disorders, it is simply our intention to address the problem. Whether or not one chooses to use Gardner's terminology, the problems posed by these cases to families, professionals and the courts are very real.   Reluctance to consider Parental Alienation by name, along with the diagnostic and interventions it entails, may however contribute to the perpetuation of the problem in a variety of ways. 

     Depending on the severity of the alienation, a child may exhibit all or only some of the following behaviors. It is the cluster of these symptoms that prompted Gardner to consider them as a syndrome.

bulletThe child is aligned with the alienating parent in a campaign of denigration against the target parent, with the child making active contributions;
bulletRationalizations for deprecating the target parent are often weak, frivolous or absurd;
bulletAnimosity toward the rejected parent lacks the ambivalence normal to human relationships;
bulletThe child asserts that the decision to reject the target parent is his or her own, also referred to as the "independent thinker" phenomenon;
bulletThe child reflexively supports the parent with whom he or she is aligned;
bulletThe child expresses guiltless disregard for the feelings of the target or hated parent;
bulletBorrowed scenarios are present, i.e., the child's statements reflect themes and terminology of the alienating parent;
bulletAnimosity is spread to the extended family and others associated with the hated parent.


Parental Alienation or a similar type of behavioral acting out by divorcing parents has become a pervasive aspect of divorce in our society. Clawar and Rivlin (Reading List #7) found that parental alienation was practiced to varying degrees by 80% of divorcing parents, with 20 percent engaging in such behaviors with their children at least once a day.  According to Johnston (Reading List #8,9,39), 43% of children they examined were in strong alignments with an alienating parent and 29% in mild alignments.  These figures approach Gardner's estimate that 90% of the children he has assessed in custody evaluations exhibit varying degrees of PAS. 

    According to Statistics Canada there were 69,088 divorces in Canada in 1998. In the 1996 census the average persons per family was 3.1 people. This would equate to 1.1 children per family. This would indicate that approximately 75,000 children were affected by divorce in 1998, not including children of common law marriages. If Parental Alienation was in effect in only 20% of these divorces, 15,000 children are affected annually. If we used even higher percentages, as some studies suggest that some degree of Parental Alienation is active in 80-90% of divorce cases, then we are speaking of over 60,000 children annually. That is 600,000 children each decade and thatís just in Canada. According to Statistics Canada, in 1998, approximately one third of divorce cases involved child custody orders. These orders concerned 37,851 children. Child custody orders are an indication of high conflict divorce. We believe that we can safely draw the conclusion that thousands of children in Canada are affected by Parental Alienation annually.


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Get a copy of our Parental Alienation Brochure here

Parental Alienation Brochure

View the City of Nanaimo's Proclamation of Parental Alienation Day


View the City of Vancouver's Proclamation of Parental Alienation Day



Member of Parliament Maurice Vellacott (Saskatoon-Wanuskewin)  releases results of new  equal shared parenting poll


Child Abuse

Parental Alienation is destructive irrespective of the gender of the alienating parent and is considered to be a form of child abuse. Children are growing up without one parent and are being psychologically damaged in the process. These children are acting out their confusion, anger, and frustrations in many ways. For example, boys, in the teenage years, are often prone to violent, self destructive behaviors related to drugs, car thefts, robbery, gang behavior, and suicide. Girls, in the teenage years, are prone to similar kinds of self destructive behaviors, including drugs, gang behavior, and sexual promiscuity.



"If we can keep children connected with their fathers we can address, in one dramatic move, many of the social challenges in our society." Theo J. Boere
Men's Affordable Resources Society of British Columbia