Parental Alienation Syndrome is defined as a deliberate act by one parent to separate their child or children from the other parent. The goal is to break the child’s or children’s bond with the other (usually noncustodial) parent. A parent may do this for a variety of reasons. It is sometimes done as a form of punishment because the instigating parent sees it as a means of delivering justice for some alleged wrongdoing. Acts can sometimes be the result of a mental health-related personality disorder that surfaces in a stressful situation, preventing them from acting and reacting rationally.
Encouraging Anger Acts Against the Other Parent
To the child or children, a parent will be critical of the other parent or dismissive of the other parent. These can be overtly negative statements or subtle jibes aimed at eroding the child’s or children’s trust in the other parent. They may claim that a new piece of clothing or school supplies cannot be purchased, and the child or children are told that this is because the other parent has decided to spend the money on someone or something else. The goal is to foster insecure feelings toward the parent in the child or children.
Attempts to Promote Anger in a Subtle Way
This frequently occurs when one parent intentionally speaks negatively about the other parent to the child or children. Although they may not directly address the child or children, they will make sure the child or children is within earshot when making disparaging remarks about the parent to others. To attribute to the child or children that the other parent did not care enough about the child or children or the marriage relationship would be a more direct example. In essence, the parent causes and then exploits the child’s or children’s emotional turmoil.
The Exchange of Information
When a parent engages in parental alienation, they frequently inform the child or children of the divorce process and report the ongoing conflict between the parents to the child or children, blaming the other parent for the conflict. This could include talking about money problems or blaming the other parent for legal problems, with the emphasis on how much easier the situation would be if the other parent wasn’t so cruel. This may make the child or children angry with the other parent, as well as a sense of responsibility and guilt.
Negative Messages are Being Disseminated
Body language can be used by a parent to express their displeasure with the other parent to their child or children. When describing what the other parent allegedly said or did, the child or children may notice the parent rolling their eyes, shaking their head, throwing their arms around, and other physical actions. This nonverbal communication frequently has a significant impact on the child or children.
Refusing to Co-Parent in an Appropriate Manner
When one parent refuses to co-parent in the agreed-upon manner with the other parent and then blames the other parent on the child or children, it can be devastating. This may be explained to children as a result of the other parent’s constant rage or refusal to interact with the child or children.
Accusing Others of Making False Accusations
A parent may make unfounded accusations against the other parent, ranging from emotional, physical, and even sexual abuse of the child or children. This is obviously a very serious set of allegations to make, and they can have very serious emotional and legal ramifications. When the child or children is too young to speak, a medical examination, as well as a psychiatric evaluation, must be performed whenever there is a claim or suspicion of abuse. Even if the allegations are completely false, the damage that can be done between a parent and a child or children can be permanent. Frequently, the child or children are left with unresolved conflicts and no other options. The child or children also have the problem of having little to no say in the conflict in which they are involved. When one parent lies about the other parent in such a serious way, it can be a terrible price for the child or children to pay.
If one parent is unable or unwilling to communicate effectively in order to transfer information about the child or children’s life and well-being, it is possible that the parent is attempting to isolate the child or children from the other parent.
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