One is often asked what effect this has on the child now and in later life. This has been discussed more fully by Lowenstein (2006a). To summarise, the child grows up relentlessly reenacting what it has experienced in its own life. Not only does the hostility perpetuate itself towards the targeted parent but it perpetuates itself in the life of the child as he/she becomes an adult. The child as an adult has difficulties very often in relationships with a partner and reenacts what has been learned by perpetuating the cycle of the paranoid delusions and hostility resulting in PAS.
Sometimes a child as an adult or mature adolescent will consider what has occurred and how he/she has been used by the alienator. This sometimes results in a change of thinking, due to therapy or in conversation with intimate friends. Then follows an active seeking for the lost parent. Unfortunately there is no research as to the frequency of this happening. The conjecture is that it is relatively rare. As Cartwright (1993) states:
“The child’s good memories of the alienated parent are systematically destroyed and the child misses out on the day to day interaction, learning, support and love, which, in an intact family, usually flows between the child and both parents as well as grandparents and other relatives on both sides.”
In many cases what occurs is that the now lost parent may no longer be available and the grandparents have undoubtedly died. Additionally the more mature child does sometimes turn against the alienator in the realization of what has been done. Mothers are twice as likely to be responsible for parental alienation than fathers, as they tend to be on the whole, the custodial parent.
Any expert assessing and/or treating such problems must be scrupulously fair and independent. The overwhelming important principle, as already stated must be that all things being equal both parents whenever possible should have an equal access to care and have influence on a child/children. The exception is that when it can be shown that either parent is an abuser (sexually, physically, and emotionally) or in other ways is a danger to the child. Mothers appear to make the greatest number of complaints of sexual abuse (67%) (Gardner, 1987). These allegations more often than not are invalid, about 50% of the time. Fathers are accusers of sexual abuse also in 22% of cases.