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Parental Alienation IS a Crime!

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Dr. Michelle Golland: A Nassau County Supreme Court justice has sentenced a mother to six weekends in jail for civil contempt. Per the judge, the guilty mom -- Lauren Lippe -- engaged in a pattern of "alienating" behavior wherein she made false allegations of sexual abuse against her children's father, Ted Rubin -- allegations that were calculated to interfere with her ex-husband's scheduled time and relationship with their children.

Ted Rubin with her daughters

"The extensive record is replete with instances of attempts to undermine the relationship between the children and their father and replace him with her new husband," Justice Robert Ross stated in his ruling. "[These instances included] manipulation of the defendant's parenting access, utter and unfettered vilification of the defendant to the children, false reporting of sexual misconduct without any semblance of 'good faith,' and her imposition upon the children to fear her tirades and punishment if they embrace the relationship they want to have with their father."

"Parental alienation" is the practice of mentally manipulating or bullying your own children with the express goal of damaging their relationship with their other parent. Both parental alienation and its related practice, "hostile aggressive parenting," deprive children of the stable and loving relationships they need when coping with divorce (and life in general).

Children who are emotionally bullied by one parent in order to hurt the other can develop a severe opposition to contact with and/or overt hatred for the target parent. Often, there seems to be no logical reason for the children's behavior. 

During the crisis of divorce, it is key to keep the peace between the parents so the children don't feel like they're in the middle of the conflict. Let's face it: The couple is divorcing each other, but they should not be divorcing their children. Healthy, reasonable parents want their children to feel emotionally safe with both parents; they desire to strengthen their children's bonds with both parents even through the divorce. Healthy parents encourage visits with their exes, never talk negatively about them in the presence of their children and honestly try to set aside their own hostile feelings in order to help their children feel less distress. Healthy parents are sensitive to their children's feelings and needs, and encourage positive feelings toward their exes because they know that's paramount to their kids' well-being now and in the future. 

Alienating parents, on the other hand, may seek emotional comfort from their children and attempt to validate their pain and anger against their ex-spouses by trying to get their children to align with them and them alone. They speak negatively of their exes and subtly communicate their anger in front of the children. Alienating parents often manipulate and use their children to hurt their exes on purpose -- and with a vengeance. They may tell their children that their other parent doesn't love them or doesn't want to see them. They may destroy or hide communication from the other parent. They may give in to their children's desire to avoid the parent, actually encouraging such behavior instead of encouraging their children to have a healthy relationship with their ex. 

Signs of Parental Alienation
  • Children perceive one parent as causing financial problems for the other parent.
  • Children have knowledge of the divorce details or legal procedures.
  • Children show a sudden hostile, negative change in attitude toward target parent.
  • Children are not delivered for court-ordered visitation and/or are not allowed to "choose" to visit the target parent. 
  • False allegations of abuse are made against the target parent.
  • Children are asked to choose one parent over the other. 
  • Anger and negativity toward target parent is reinforced.
  • Children are given the impression that if they have a good time with the target parent during a visit, it will hurt them.
  • Children are asked about the target parent's personal life. 
  • Children are "rescued" from the target parent when there is no danger.  
In regards to parental alienation, the judge in the New York decision stated, "... Interference with the non-custodial parent and child's relationship is an act so inconsistent with the best interests of a child, as to, per se, raise a strong probability that the offending party is unfit to act as a custodial parent." 

Judge Ross found Lauren Lippe in civil contempt of court and ordered her to spend every other weekend in the Nassau County Correctional Facility during June, July and August. My hope is that during this time, she receives psychotherapy and education regarding the pain and damage she has inflicted upon her children. 

What can we learn from this horrible situation? We can learn that it took years of inappropriate conduct on the part of the mother, $165,000 in attorneys' fees and an unquantifiable amount of damage to the relationship between her ex and his children before the court would punish this type of behavior. The father is now going to be asking for full custody of his children; however, the psychological damage done to the kids in this case may make it impossible for them to ever bond with their father -- which is the biggest tragedy in this case. Only time away from their mother's influence will make the idea of a healthy relationship with their father possible.

It's important to recognize the negative emotional consequences of parental alienation on children in high-conflict divorce, and that's why I advocate for divorce therapy for all of my divorcing clients who have children. My goal is to avoid this type of harmful behavior and educate my clients about ways to create a peaceful and less stressful experience for their mutual children.

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59 comments so far | Post a comment now
Tracey June 20, 2010, 11:11 PM

Alan R- you are forgetting, Ted isn’t sending her to jail nor am I. The judge found that she broke the law and it is her actions that are landing her in jail. Ted isn’t the one who decided nor wants the mother in jail. When you break the law you pay the consequences. Maybe she should have thought about that when she was the one being evil and wharping the girls minds against him. You don’t know the girls nor have witnessed their behavior and fear around the mother and I pray you are never in his situation if you have kids. You are judging him & I and know nothing of the reality of the situation. The mother felt that because she has a new rich husband she could do what she wanted at the girls expense and obviously she had to have done alot wrong or the judge would never have ordered jail time.

Tracey, Ira and DAD badmouth the mom June 21, 2010, 7:32 AM

Coaches are notorious for their behavior with children. I hardly think your endorsement means much. You are his friend and would stick up for him no matter what. The picture doesn’t lie. The dad has his hand on the little girls breast area. Perhaps the dad doesn’t know that he isn’t supposed to be touching the girls breasts and the photographer doesn’t seem to have a problem with this either. You people all badmouth the mom. Yet you claim that somehow she is the problem. The big problem is that mothers are having their relationships with their children interfered with and destroyed. Seems the “alienation” is really between the parties here who want to take children away from their mother and put her in jail. What could be more alienating than that. You people are sick in the head who want to take children away from their moms and put the moms in jail. MISOGYNY - and other women do it too - see Women’s Inhumanity to Women by Phyllis Chesler. No mother should ever have to defend her right to raise her own children.

small farm July 1, 2010, 9:24 AM

As a RN in an ED, I have encountered this time and time again. And it typically starts with “I just got the kid(s) back from their father, and there’s a red area…As far a the dad “molesting” his kids in this picture, get a life. There isn’t an ounce of stress from anyone in this picture. It is simply a family have a great day, nothing more.

chloe  July 1, 2010, 12:55 PM

I think this subject stirs up alot of emotions due to the nature, I think every situation is different, as a mother who is living a nightmare of Parent Alignation Syndrom and being the hated parent…all i know is I live this everyday and it is the heartbreak of my life, I am sure each story is different, but i know what kind of mother I am and was to my children, Any parent that manipulates there child for there gain and revenge is sick….very sick…abuse is abuse…and abuse needs to stop on whatever level it is done, you know when your in the middle of something not right. Its a gut feeling and you just know. So everyones opnion is valid depending on your story…im sure this term PAS can serve great justice as it can be used against someone who is innocent, the bottom line is no matter what it is the kids that suffer.

Dave July 1, 2010, 4:20 PM

Disgusting that people would suggest there’s anything inappropriate about the photo of the father and his daughters. I really hope and pray that some of the commenters in this thread are not parents, as the immaturity displayed is beyond troubling. No wonder our society is so screwed up. Sad.

Russ July 7, 2010, 11:49 AM

Believe it or not, a parent will

(1) make false allegations against the other parent in order to alienate them from their children

(2) make attempts to “replace” them with a significant other/new husband/wife

This case has went on for too long. Thank goodness the judge is doing something about it. Maybe she will think twice before making another false allegation. Repeated unsubstantiated allegations should be punished by jail time…at least that may make them think twice before making them. The problem with society is no one is punished for lying, especially when it comes to our children. If you have never been alienated from your children, then you have no idea of the psychological impact it has on you. The ones on here that are making accusations based on a photo are sick and need help. You are the ones who seem like you have no problem in harming your own children. Until you have your children taken away from you by the other parent for no reason, please be silent on the matter

Amy July 21, 2010, 12:31 PM

My husbands ex-wives are just like this crazy lunatic. He pays all his child support on time and provides total sickness and accident insurance for both of his children. He also pays half of all medical expenses. Its disgusting that some women use their children as a paycheck. If you truly love your children then you would never do anything to hurt them. Not only is it causing damage now but in the long run these kids are gonna be so messed up in the head that no amount of counseling is ever gonna help. Both of his exes have different ways of alienating him from his girls and one of them has even verbally bashed my children by calling them half breeds. I guess their jealousy of how great of a husband he has been to me and how great of a father he has been to my children are just too much for them to bear. But to the women who choose to alienate their childrens father, beware one day the truth will be known and you may be the one who ends up being alienated. Your children will be adults way longer than they are babies. And once they become adults you may not be able to manipulate and control them like you once could. The lies that you put in their heads may come back to haunt you later on in life.

Dauree August 15, 2010, 10:10 PM

My brother has been fully alienated from his children since August 2001. As those who are affected know, it is a whole family thing. It has been really hard seeing how hurt my brother and my parents have been all these years. Also, as a nurse working with children I see the pain and stress from their parent’s divorce. In an effort to bring awareness to PA I have volunteered for PAAO and designed some PA products. My PA items can be found at and There is a great need for public awareness and professional education.

URIDIOTS August 16, 2010, 7:15 PM

If you have never lived through the hell of parental alienation then you need to shut up. These women (and men) deserve to be in jail and for a lot longer than six weeks. We have been living this hell for 10+ years and it never stops. Many of the people that practice PA are sociopaths and people with diagnosable severe mental disorders. Many of you man hating woman only care that the these crazy women are protected or that all men are sexual abusers. You don’t give a flying monkey about the emotional and pshchological abuse these chilren are living in. In fact you support it through your ignorance. And as far as Dr. Gardner, it is quite apparent that you haven’t read his books or articles or those of his peers. Try reading Divorce Poison, Adult Children of Parental Alienation Syndrome or Divorce Casualites. In addition read some of the research done be Elizabeth F. Loftus, then GET A LIFE!

Karey September 18, 2010, 5:21 PM

3 years ago I left a diagnosed bi polar man who had emotionally and verbally abused myself and the children for years. I was the primary caregiver in my sons life. He even called his dad by his first name. He was scared of his father. I moved to California and found a jobb teaching Kindergarden. My ex’s dad worked for the city and knew lots of people. Anyways something went wrong at court. I have never smoked or drank. I am an honest woman who loves her children more then anything. My ex said he would get custody and there was nothing I could do about it. I told the courts about the abuse and how my ex could not keep a job and lived with his parents. Not only did the courts not look in to the abuse the judge actually apologized to my ex and once again I felt the shame of abuse. The judge ordered my son back to my ex. The medical records of my ex were never shown to the judge by my lawyer. There is something very wrong about this story. I want this to be made public. I am going back to court. My ex is refusing my son much needed medical care. and I went as long as 5 months before not knowing where my son was living. I havent had a return call in months and only sometimes do I get to talk to him. His brothers miss him. He is living in a dirty unclean enviornment where he is made to pick up dog poop and he says the dogs poop in his room. It is really bad. This seems to be happening a lot. Why? Sometimes there is abuse we cant prove but that doesnt mean it didnt happen. I have another court date soon and I am still trying to protect my son. I want him to have both parents. I believe every child deserves this.

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