Parental Alienation Syndrome is a troubling phenomenon that occurs when one parent manipulates a child into having negative feelings and attitudes toward the other parent. It can be emotionally devastating for both the alienated parent and the child involved.
Recognizing the signs of PAS is necessary in order to address the issue and prevent further harm to the child’s emotional well-being.
Negative comments about one parent
When a child consistently speaks ill of one parent without any valid reason, this may indicate that PAS is in play. These comments often reflect beliefs that come from the other parent, leading the child to view one parent in a distorted, negative light.
Refusal to spend time with one parent
Children experiencing PAS may also refuse to spend time with the parent the other parent is alienating them against. They may offer various excuses or become visibly upset when they have to spend time with that parent.
Lack of empathy toward the alienated parent
Children subjected to PAS often display a marked lack of empathy or understanding for the feelings of the alienated parent. They may disregard or dismiss the parent’s emotions, showing an inability to see things from that parent’s perspective.
Creation of false memories or accusations
Parents who engage in alienating behaviors may encourage their children to create false memories that paint the other parent in a negative light. They may, too, make baseless accusations against the alienated parent. This can lead to further emotional turmoil and confusion for the child.
Per ScienceDirect, more than 3.8 million children across America have either moderate or severe levels of alienation from one of their parents. Early intervention and open communication help facilitate the healing process for families affected by PAS.