Parental Alienation

parental alienation

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One of the most destructive patterns of behavior in a divorce is Parental Alienation Syndrome or PAS as it is known in certain circles.  I hadn’t heard of the term when I separated from my husband but if only I had, I would have seen the red flags flying above my head.  While knowledge is power, I was naive. Even if you are not experiencing PAS, it’s important to understand what it is and at least recognize the signs.

What is PAS?

“Parental Alienation is a destructive form of parenting where one parent bad mouths directly to and within earshot of the children, the other parent (the target) with the intention of having the children lower their opinion of the other parent.  What begins as bad mouthing can become verbal bashing and brainwashing in an attempt to estrange the children from the other parent and at the very least tainting the relationship.  What is washed out of the children’s brains is any positive feelings or even loving memories of the other parent.” – excerpt-The Great Escape; A Girl’s Guide to Leaving a Marriage

It sounds impossible but believe me, it can happen.  Children believe everything that parent tells them.  Heck, it wasn’t that long ago they believed in Santa Claus.  With their impressionable minds it isn’t difficult to manipulate and brainwash a child.  It is a form of abuse nonetheless, unscrupulous parents do it as a means to their own ends.

Before we look at the signs in your children remember to always ask yourself, Is the child’s behavior directed at both parents or just me? This will help you decipher whether some of their behaviors are a result of growing pains or if they are the real result of alienation.

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