The American Psychiatric Association recognizes parental alienation syndrome
(PAS) as a dysfunction in the child-parent and parent-parent relationship.
Occurring in hostile marriages, separations, and divorces, PAS involves
one parent (the alienator) influencing their children to harbor adverse
feelings for the “target” parent. Often, the child will display
strong opposition to one parent, without concrete motives. This can happen
for various reasons including the other parent saying harsh things about
their ex in front of the children, manipulating the children, or limiting
interaction of the children with the other parent.
Common signs of parental alienation syndrome include:
- The child associates negative events, such as financial issues, with the
- The child displays uncharacteristically rude and hostile behavior to one parent.
- The alienator coaches children to think negatively of the other parent.
- The child has no solid reason for their aggression towards target parent.
- The child continuously rejects contact and visitation with the other parent.
- The alienating parent manipulates their child’s emotions to reflect
their own aggression towards their ex.
- The child knows about personal details of the divorce and marital disputes.
PAS can cause lasting detriments to a relationship between parent and child.
An individual may resort to using their children during a highly contentious
divorce. If you believe your child displays signs of parental alienation
syndrome, it is important that you remain in control of the situation
and your emotions.
Some tips on dealing with PAS are:
- Keep a detailed log of your interaction with your child.
- Always stick to schedules and call/pick-up your child when you said you would.
- Try to openly communicate with your child without being defensive or aggressive.
- When you are with your child, highlight the good memories you shared.
- Get counseling.
Divorce can pose emotional stress for everyone involved. Protect your parental
rights. Contact our family law specialist at Matthew Sheasby, Attorney
at Law. We offer free consultations and can review your
child custody case. Do not lose your child because of an angry ex.