What if someone outside your family turned your son or daughter against you?
What if that person manipulated your child into severing every tie to every relative and friend?
What could you do?
If your child is over 16, such manipulation is generally not considered a crime.
New Jersey needs a law to protect families from predatory alienation.
Internet predators, con artists, pimps, gangs, and other destructive individuals and groups use this form of psychologically damaging manipulation to isolate people of all ages from their relatives and friends. Predatory alienation arising from extreme undue influence devastates not only the people being controlled, but also the family members and friends who love them. Time alone typically does not resolve the situation or heal the emotional harm done by this predatory behavior. (See Expert Interview.)
“A tie to a parent may be the most important bond in a young adult’s life,” according to family science researchers at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Texas at Austin (New York Times, May 31, 2012).
Yet, presently there is nowhere for loving, responsible families to turn when they are attacked from outside — when a family member over the age of 16 is maliciously manipulated and turned against them.
Concerned citizens are working with New Jersey State Senator Loretta Weinberg (D-District 37) to draft legislation to better protect families. The bill under consideration would create a civil cause of action to enable parents to seek court-ordered steps to restore healthy family connections and to recover damages against any person whose severe or pervasive conduct disrupts the parent-child relationship up to age 18. Protection ultimately may be extended to include those over age 18, as well as the elderly. Read the Draft Bill.
You can sign the petition online, or download a PDF petition form that you can print and send by regular US mail.
In New Jersey, protection under the child endangerment statutes applies only to those 16 and under. But prudent, loving, law-abiding parents care for their children well beyond age 16. Parents may not allow their children to consume alcohol, even if they are 17, 18, 19, or even 20 years old. Under federal law, parents have the right to demand that police investigate immediately if a child between the ages of 18 and 21 goes missing. Parents may retain their children on their health insurance plans well past age 21.
Learn How To Protect Yourselves and Your Loved Ones
Whether we call it malicious manipulation, thought control, coercive persuasion, or brainwashing, there is a definite process by which people can be convinced to surrender their ability to think critically, suppress their own identity, and cut themselves off from those they previously trusted and loved.
Read the slideshow summary of Undue Influence 101, a presentation organized by NJ Safe & Sound, which outlines the many ways undue influence can hurt people of all ages and backgrounds, how the process of thought control works, and strategies for coping with its effects.
Go to the Video Presentations page to hear experts explain the basics of undue influence and predatory alienation.
For more information, consult this Reading List
Share Your Experience
To document the need to give parents the right to defend their families from inappropriate external influence, NJ Safe & Sound is collecting case studies from families who have suffered this trauma. Please fill out one of our confidential questionnaires if you or a loved one have been affected.
Are you the parent, guardian, or relative of someone who has been or is now being alienated from you?
Have you been or are you now being turned against your parents or family?
Do you know of an alienation outside your own family in which someone has been or is now being turned against his or her family by an external influence?
Sign the NJ Safe & Sound Petition to demand that families be given the right to stand up to those who maliciously turn loved ones against them. If you live outside New Jersey or outside the United States, you can still support this initiative by signing the petition and indicating your place of residence. Ideally, other states and nations will follow New Jersey’s lead in creating laws to protect families from extreme undue influence.
Access this website and the NJ Safe & Sound Facebook page regularly for pertinent legislative and other updates.
Foster statewide support for legislation against extreme undue influence and the malicious disruption of the parent-child relationship by urging your legislators and the governor to address these issues. You can use these sample letters/emails, which can be tailored to your own situation. If you live in New Jersey, you can find contact information for the legislators who represent your municipality by clicking on the name of your city at www.njleg.state.nj.us/districts/municipalities.asp. Residents of other states can go to thomas.loc.gov/home/state-legislatures.html.
Encourage anyone who has had a close family relationship ruptured by an alienating influence to fill out one of the confidential questionnaires above.
To ask a question or submit a comment, contact NJ Safe & Sound.
Media inquires can be made here.
Download NJ Safe & Sound PDF flyer.
"The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society
and is entitled to protection by society and the State."
— Article 16.3, Universal Declaration of Human Rights of the United Nations