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Parental Alienation in Ireland . Any advice?

  • 02-08-2021 5:12pm
    Registered Users Posts: 13

    Going through a tough time at the moment. Marriage broke down nearly two years ago. Relationship was always 100% with my two kids (8 & 10)

    Divorce ongoing and it’s pretty nasty. Also I’ve met someone new.

    My ex wife has totally got her back up and completely poisoned my kids minds against me. It started slowly with them saying things like “Mummy says you have all the money” or “Mummy says you lied to us” (both untrue). God knows what else that I don’t know about… really lost for somewhere to turn to. Found some things online like this: but would be interested in other peoples experiences and how it compares

    the heartbreak every day is awful

    Post edited by Big Bag of Chips on


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Entertainment Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Regional East Moderators Posts: 18,144 CMod ✭✭✭✭The Black Oil

    Moved from Psychology to PI. Local charter now applies.

  • Registered Users Posts: 13 gunggung69

    Thanks for that. I’m new to this. Might be a stupid question, but what is “Local charter”?

  • Administrators Posts: 13,434 Admin ✭✭✭✭✭Big Bag of Chips

    Every forum has a Charter, or list of rules stickied at the top of the list of threads. Each forum has it's own specific set of rules.

    There are a number of forums here which might better suit your query. Personal Issues (this forum) is an advice forum, where posters look for advice in dealing with an issue.

    There are other forums that might also be suitable:


    Separation and Divorce

    I can leave the thread here to see if you get suitable replies, or I can move it to one of the other forums if you'd prefer.

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    It is hard to know what to do in a situation like that - as I know of no way of controlling what another parent says to children. So I feel for your situation.

    I guess the temptation is to enter into a vicarious back and forth - and start giving as good as you get. So pouring lies and worse back into your children's mind about the other parent. Resist that temptation. It is not good for children at all.

    The best you can do is calmly address this with the other parent when you have the chance. Do not lose the head. Just explain the kids have been giving you feedback that lies are being told about you. Explain you are going to be the mature parent and not reduce yourself to playing that same game. And explain to the other parent that while they might think they have good reasons for doing this - it is actually psychologically harmful for the children - and there are even terms in psychology such as "enmeshment" specifically about the kinds of harms it causes. Your ex might be doing it to hurt and harm you. Explain that it is hurting and harming the children - and this is unfair if not outright immoral.

    And finally - stay true to yourself and your kids. I have seen situations similar to yourselves. And where the "victim" parent simply stays true to being a good parent and to their love for the kids - the kids eventually reach and age where they mature enough to wake up to it. And they look back and see which parent was the one who operarted from a base of love - and which one operated from a base of vindictive malice. I doubt it always works out that way - but it always has in the anecdotes I have seen. The malice back fires on the vindictive parent. So don't get drawn in and down to their level. Aim for a higher standard yourself and if there is any justice in the world the long term result will be in your favour.

  • Registered Users Posts: 7 DonegalPol

    It maybe worth contacting

    There is a whatsapp support group of alienated mothers and fathers who you can join also or

    There is some fantastic information resources like here

    Parental Alienation is child abuse and coercive control and it must be a crime to make a child live in fear of or even hate a non abusive parent!


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  • Registered Users Posts: 7 DonegalPol

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,774 ✭✭✭mohawk

    Like others have said. You have no choice but to rise above it. I never bad mouth my ex in front of my son. I Always tell him to have a good time etc when he is going to see him. I know my ex gives out about me and it makes my son feel so awkward. I bite my tongue and remember that I am playing the long game. As my son has gotten older he sees his father for who he is and it’s causing distance between them. I know it’s tough but you have to be the better person and rise above it for your kids.

  • Registered Users Posts: 13 gunggung69

    Just read this in the examiner. Wish it was this simple!!!!

  • Registered Users Posts: 7 DonegalPol

    It is simple or could be - Judge asks question why do you not want access by the father / mother of your child? You allowed full access whilst in your relationship so what has changed? If there is no proven abuse; judge warns he/she will reverse custody and orders mediation, parenting skills training, therapies etc to stop PA becoming an issue later. Hopefully the government will implement some remedies for the abommination called family law system.

  • Administrators Posts: 13,434 Admin ✭✭✭✭✭Big Bag of Chips

    Moved to Parenting Forum

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  • Registered Users Posts: 4 DeedsD


    I'm sorry to hear you're experiencing this. It's actually coercive control, and hopefully it won't come to this, but if it continues you can take action against your ex under Ireland's new coercive control legislation.

    Parental alienation is a discredited concept which was made illegal in Spain in 2021 after Spain was sanctioned for a second time for the judiciary’s use of the theory. See this article for details.

    Spain was sanctioned by the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women under the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women, (CEDAW) which Ireland ratified in 1985. If the Irish Family Law courts implement parental alienation recommendations, like Spain, they are in breach of CEDAW. 

    Italy has also outlawed parental alienation with the Italian Supreme Court referring to it as Nazi Theory.

    What is Parental Alienation Syndrome

    Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) is a theory created by Dr. Richard Gardner (look him up, big fan of incest) for use against protective mothers in custody and divorce proceedings. PAS is not based on any research but rather the personal beliefs, experience and bias of Dr. Gardner. He assumed that virtually all reports of domestic violence or child abuse must be false. PAS is not recognized by any legitimate scientific organization and is not included in any version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).  This 2019 study from the US conducted an analysis of over 2000 court opinions and found that courts are skeptical of mothers’ claims of abuse by fathers; and fathers’ cross-claims of parental alienation increase (virtually doubling) courts’ rejection of mothers’ abuse claims, and mothers’ losses of custody to the father accused of abuse.


  • Registered Users Posts: 13 gunggung69

    Do you know of any cases that have gone to court, either in Ireland or in Northern Ireland?

  • Registered Users Posts: 7 DonegalPol

    The European Court of Human Rights has recognised and judged on parental alienation there authority is higher than Spains -

    Cases here

    Recent Judgement against Malta

  • Registered Users Posts: 7 DonegalPol

    If you are interested in getting your voice heard by the Irish Government about your experiences of the Family Law Courts System and Parental Alienation please complete and share this survey

    Also some political developments North & South on Parental Alienation can be seen here


  • Registered Users Posts: 466 ✭✭angela1711

    This isn’t going to help you in anyway and I am sorry that you have to go through this. Hope your ex will soon realize that she is doing the kids more harm than good. I just want to share my opinion on the topic.

    I am a woman with a child in a long term relationship. Not married but have been together for 10 years. I will never ever understand any woman or man (but let’s face it it’s usually the woman) who for whatever grievance they may have towards their ex partner decides to make their life miserable by doing whatever they can to either limit their contact with children or as it’s the case here tell the kids usually fake stories or things that they should never hear about a parent.

    Telling stories is never right in my opinion it does the kids no good and I don’t understand what is the reason for doing it.

    Limiting contact is only ever right if your ex is addicted to alcohol or drugs and may potentially be dangerous to the kids or they have been either mentally or physically abused by him/her.

    Do people not realize that once there are children involved it’s no longer about the two of you? It’s though for kids to go through their parents divorce even when parents try to come to some sort of a sensible agreement. It can result in serious mental harm if the ones who suppose to protect them decide to have a war between them using the kids as a bargain power.

    Our friends are going through a break up. They were not married and have one child together. I always thought they were a nice couple. The father especially struck me as being a real family man always out and about with their son. I secretly wished that my own partner would be as involved with our son as this man was. Things didn’t work out between them there was no domestic violence no cheating. One day she decided that it won’t work out and took the kid. She tried to do everything in her will power to deny any access to the child. It drove the man to a mental brake down. He had not seen his son for a year. They only had telephone calls always supervised by the mother. He could tell after a while that various stories have been told about him as the child seemed very guarded when talking to him. Eventually after a court battle and god knows how much money spend on solicitors he got his access. He had recently send us pictures of the two of them together and it literally broke my heart seeing how happy this little boy was to see his dad.

    How can you make your own child suffer for no reason other then your stupid desire to make your ex life miserable is beyond me.

    My own mother did a similar thing with my father. She had brain washed me for so long that I denied to see him for years. Eventually got old enough to realize that maybe he is not as bad as my mother proclaimed him to be. I will never get back all these years I could spend having regular contact with him. We have a very distant relationship now because of this.

    So just please think twice before doing anything like this to your own kids.

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    Is anybody going through this finding that the admins in the school's WhatsApp are excluding them from their children's lives?

    My ex, who has a long history of control/bullying issues, is very much an expert at playing the victim, whereas I have always been a very private man. I now find that I have been removed from my children's class WhatsApp where playdates, parties and so forth are organised. I never once contributed to it, but I used it as a guide to what was coming up for my children. I don't even know the people who are the admins, and I don't know the exact connection between the school management and it (I think the class reps set it up). My ex now has complete knowledge, and therefore control, over what's happening between my children and their school friends and she tells me when she needs me to do something, as if I'm just a fallback position. This should not be allowed, and I don't know if I have any rights at all under Irish law. As I'm not in the WhatsApp and don't know anybody who is, I can't see who removed me and indeed the whole School group chat is removed from my WhatsApp on my phone and laptop.

    What do other people do in these circumstances?

  • Administrators Posts: 13,434 Admin ✭✭✭✭✭Big Bag of Chips

    WhatsApp groups are informal groups and nothing to do with school management. Parents generally set them up for asking about homework, days off, €2 days etc. If your ex is the only person you know in the group then you can ask her to get you joined back into the group. Whoever set the group up might have been doing a tidy up and removed you because as you say you never once contributed to the group. So maybe they felt you didn't want to be a member. You probably were not the only one removed. A "thumbs up" occasionally if something is posted in the group about parents association meeting or collection for teacher at Christmas etc would show that you are engaging with the group. Organising a play date, or the birthday party etc would show you're interested in being in the group.

    The Admins of the WhatsApp group are not excluding you from your children's lives! They really don't have that power. If you want to be in the WhatsApp group then you need to participate at some level. I'm the admin for a social group in our area. This year when we started back up I removed about 20 people from the group because they never attended the activity and never participated in the WhatsApp group. Never acknowledged a message. Never responded to any question or query. So I assumed they had no interest in having the messages appear on their phone. If anyone requests to be added back into the group and says they will be able to attend the activity, then they can easily be added back in.

    Ask your ex to get you added back to the group. But if you don't organise parties, don't attend parties, don't arrange for kids to come over to play with yours don't know anyone in the group - the parents of your children's friends - Then do you really need to be in the group? It is an informal group for arranging all the things that you haven't been involved in. If you want to be in the group, then get involved. Otherwise it looks is like you're just being nosey without actually contributing anything.

    Ask your ex to keep you informed of what's going on in the school so that you can get to know these people, attend parents association meetings, send in the €2 for no uniform day, contribute to the collection for Christmas etc. The school would be sending out official notice about all these things. Sometimes as a text. Sometimes as a note in the child's bag. The WhatsApp group will only mention them if someone asks what day/date/how much etc.

    Post edited by Big Bag of Chips on

  • Registered Users Posts: 41 Atamiri

    Form my experience parental alienation always backfires but it takes time.