Parental Alienation Syndrome – Part 1

1.  What is the “Parental Alienation Syndrome”?

The Parental Alienation Syndrome involves a knowing and purposeful attempt by a parent to damage or destroy the relationship and bond his or her children have with their other parent.   It involves the children actively participating and/or collaborating in this alienation process.  The Parental Alienation Syndrome is found within the context of divorce.

2.  Warning signs of Parental Alienation

How can you tell if your former spouse is attempting to alienate your child from you?  There are warning signs that mental health professionals have seen in children suffering from Parental Alienation Syndrome:

  • Encouraging or allowing a child a choice as to whether or not to visit with the other parent.
  • Discussing with the child the parents opinion of the details of the marital relationship or reasons for the divorce.
  • Refusing to furnish the child’s clothing or personal effects between residences.
  • A parent criticizing the other parent for their financial problems, their breaking up the child’s family and changes in the parent’s lifestyle.
  • Refusing to be flexible with the possession schedule.  Scheduling the child in activities that the other parent is never able to visit.
  • Using a child to get information on the other spouse.
  • Arranging “activities” that interfere with the other parent’s possession.
  • Using the child to learn about the other parent’s personal life.

3.  Can the term “Parental Alienation Syndrome” be used to describe situations where one parent “bad-mouths” the other parent or blocks access?

Not unless these parental behaviors are part of a larger scheme of programming.  Parental Alienation Syndrome is beyond “bad mouthing” the other parent, blocking access and other attempts at brainwashing children.  Parental Alienation Syndrome involves a process of denigration of the other parent.  And it involves the children’s participation and at times, their collaboration in the alienating process.