A successful reintegration does not guarantee a successful long-term relationship. The key to long-term success is the child and parent’s pre-PAS relationship. Were the two close? Did they have a healthy and strong bond? If the parent/child relationship was good, then their future looks bright.
Even when the child and parent shared a healthy pre-alienation relationship, their future could be complicated by something Hoch called “the pendulum effect.” If the court allows a child to re-establish contact with the alienating parent too soon, the child begins swinging wildly between the two parents. According to Hoch, the formerly alienated parent must remain calm during these swings and continue sending the child messages filled with love and support.
Another key factor in the long-term success of the reintegration process is bridge relationships. For example, a child alienated from his or her mother may have stayed close to an aunt — the mother’s sister. The aunt becomes the bridge relationship. Siblings also make excellent bridges. Bridge relationships are important because the “bridge” person has loving relationships with both the alienated child and the parent. The bridge person provides a much-needed reality check for a reintegrated child experiencing the pendulum effect. These relationships become particularly important to the long-term success of the reintegration process once the formerly alienated child turns 18 years old and is beyond the court’s jurisdiction.