Coping with the Parental Alienation Syndrome

Page 8 of 12



What or who is a 'single-mother'? The popular view is a young mother who has had a broken relationship and ends up with the children, and all the problems that go with their care. In general she is represented in the media as a sympathetic figure. In practice there is no definition that will apply to all single-mothers.

1. The teenage mother. Typically a girl who herself comes from a broken home and is fatherless. She may well be looking for a father figure, or a male friend. She may lack discipline at home through lack of a father, or may be rebellious towards the mother. Whatever the reason, the chances are that she is not mature enough to have a working relationship, and finds getting pregnant puts her into the care of others. The father of her child is unlikely to be old enough or mature enough to carry out his fatherly duties. These mothers are most likely to come from a poor background.

2. The divorced mother. As four in five divorces are now brought about by women, the reasons may vary but they are able to do so on the assumption that being divorced will not make her worse off than being married. That is, she is likely to end up with the house, maintenance, and the children. However badly off she may seem to be, the father may end up without a house, with virtually no money, and often losing his job and life style due his distress at losing his children.

3. The unmarried mother. About 40% of mothers in the UK now have children with a partner they are not married to. It may well have started as a stable relationship, and with the intent of continuing to be so, but it didn't happen. Such mothers are typically in the 20-40 years age group, and will vary considerably in their background.
Now that the stigma of being an unmarried mother no longer applies, it not uncommon for such mothers to have children by more than one partner.
There is a advantage to being an unmarried mother. If she claims she does not know where the father is, she can get extra welfare benefits. This enabled her to retain contact with the father, who would also be paying her. The CSA were onto this ruse, and made a rule that she would not get welfare benefits unless she told them where the father is so the CSA could claim maintenance from him. The mother in turn would say that the father is violent, and she is in fear of her life if she reveals his whereabouts, even if she knew it. The CSA sometimes accepts this.

4. The Professional mother. These are unmarried mothers who have a string of children by different fathers. She will get more money from two fathers with a child each, than one father with two children. I have heard of one case where a mother had seven children by different fathers. Such mothers could not cope with all the fathers being around, so as a matter of course will alienate the children against the fathers.

5. The Immigrant mother. There are mothers who come to the UK when they are pregnant and have their child here. These children are UK citizens, and the mother is entitled to welfare benefits. The father is not absent; he is living in another country, and may never have set foot in the UK. The State keeps his children for him until they are old enough to return to his country.

6. The Independent mother. The tabloids love to find a celebrity single-mother who is having a child by an unknown father. It is not just celebrities who choose to have children without the intent of ever living with the father. It is getting more common among professional women who spend their early life in a career, and when time gets short, decide they want a child. They choose a father and seduce him, and that is often as much as he will know of fatherhood other than paying maintenance for the next seventeen years or so.

7. The gay mother. A lesbian couple may want a child. One of the women selects a father. He may not know he has a child until the CSA contact him.

Of course, there are plenty of ways for women to have children without physically having the father around. The various fertility methods, and ultimately cloning, all undermine the father's role as a sperm donor. But having a child is not an entirely logical decision, and many factors contribute to the problem of having child without a father being part of that child's life.


There is no clear-cut answer to this. In some cases the mother intentionally wants to get rid of the father, while in other case the situation just gets out of hand and drifts to the point where PAS just becomes one more step in the wrong direction.

A survey of FNF members showed the following variety of reasons. In many cases there will be several different reasons combined.

1. The mother wants to start a new life and wants the father out of the way. She may be more successful than he is. He is seen as an encumbrance.

2. The mother wants money/property from the father and uses the children as bargaining pawns.

3. The mother hates the father and uses the children as weapons.

4. The mother is possessive and wants all the children's love.

5. The mother is jealous of the love/gifts the father gives the child but not to her.

6. The mother cannot cope with her own life. Contact with the father in any form is difficult for her. It is a common statement by fathers that the mother suffers from depression. Sometimes PMT, when rows are likely to flare up over minor incidents, and lead to greater hostility.

7. Disappointment. She feels he is unworthy to be a father and doesn't deserve the children

8. The mother is egged on by other women hostile to men. Typically if she is in a group of single mothers or a feminist group.

9. The mother uses access to control the children (if you don't behave then you can't see daddy).

10. The mother can't compete with the father who may be able to give the children more treats in the short time he sees them. The children may boost him at her expense, and typically demand more from her.

11. The children may be the only aspect of control the mother has, so she uses this control to boost her own esteem rather than for the interests of the children. This is the power motive more commonly seen in men.

12. The mother may still like the father and uses the children as a means of controlling him.

13. The mother may be punishing the fathers new partner indirectly as the father may know that he could see the children if it wasn't for the new partner.

14. The mother may be independent and never wanted a man around anyway apart from fathering her children (entrapment). Or she may have gained independence during the marriage and now wants to exploit it.

15. As often quoted, the mother may see children as a way of getting a house, welfare money, and other benefits. The father was always incidental in the matter.

16. Some women actually believe that men are not interested in their children.

17. The mother assumes hostility by the father towards her is also towards the children, so 'protects' them by keeping him away.

18. The mother has a different lifestyle to the father, and does not want the children to copy his way of life.

19. The mother may have no family of her own (typically foreign wives), whereas the father may have a family. The mother regards the child as 'her family'.

20. The mother may become emotionally dependent upon the child, and regards any affections the child has for the father as depriving her of affection.

21. The mother simply regards the child as her property, and sees the father as making a claim on her 'possessions'.

22. The mother dislikes the fathers new partner, who she sees as a rival 'mother', so prevents the child seeing the father.

23. The mother's new partner is the one who is preventing contact because he wishes to be seen as the 'daddy'. Or she wishes the children to see him as the new daddy to strengthen her hold on him.

24. She fears the children will leave her for the father.

25. She wants to prove to her new partner that he is the only man in her life.

26. She may have come from a broken family, and not be able to sustain a relationship.

27. The father is a constant reminder of the failed relationship that she prefers to forget.

28. She may be starting a new involvement, or having difficulties with the existing one, and doesn't want the children to tell the father about her affairs.

29. Her family may not like the father, and create a situation where she has to choose between the family and the father.

30. The father may be gay and the mother cannot cope with the situation.

These are points to consider when predicting PAS

1.    The mother is foreign.

2.    The mother suffers from depression.

3.    The mother is lonely.

4.    The mother cannot cope with her own life.

5.    The mother is herself from a broken family.

6.    The mother has close friends who are single-mothers.

7.    The mother supports feminist groups.

8.    The mother is able to be independent of the father.

9.    The father spends long periods away from home.

10. The father does not get on well with the mothers family.

11. The mother stops informing the father about the child in minor ways.

12. The mother starts using childminders or outside help when she could use the father for help.

13. The mother stops contacting the father's relatives or close friends.

Be suspicious of any indication of the mother not informing you of the child's welfare when she would have previously done so.