Wisconsin parents who divorce often have disputes over dividing property, alimony and, of course, child custody. While some divorces are easily navigated, others can turn bitter. Often, the relationships of the children with their parents suffer the most. Here is some information about the phenomenon known as parental alienation syndrome and what you can do as a parent to avoid this while working through a difficult divorce.
What is parental alienation syndrome?
A psychiatrist, coined the term parental alienation syndrome, or PAS, to denote what he saw as the deliberate turning of a child against their mother or father by the other parent in the context of a divorce. While the parent is often the catalyst for the alienation, the child may take it up as their own project, transforming the manipulation suffered at the hands of one parent to further psychologically separate from the targeted parent. The PAS phenomenon occurs almost exclusively in the context of child custody disputes but not always.
What are the symptoms of PAS?
The symptoms of PAS can include a “campaign of denigration” toward the targeted parent, automatic support of the parent who initiates PAS regardless of circumstances, anger or cruelty directed at the extended family of the targeted parent, and lack of remorse or guilt for psychological damage inflicted on the targeted parent. Equitably dividing parenting time, often with the help of experienced professionals, may help to prevent parental alienation and make sure the child receives enough attention from each parent.
If you or a loved one has observed the signs of PAS in a child you care about, it’s important to intervene in an appropriate and conscientious way to limit the future toll that this syndrome can take on family ties. Repair is possible, but it requires work on the part of all involved parties.