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Protecting Children from Alienation
How Does PAS Affect Children?
Parental Alienation syndrome is still a controversial topic and there is still debate whether this should be classified as an official mental health disorder in the DSM IV. It is described as a form of psychological child abuse, when a child is systematically convinced about negative aspects about one parent by the other. The child may eventually believe this and live in hate and terror of that parent. They may feel coerced into championing the “good” parent and fear that they themselves may carry all the negative attributes of the maligned parent. The child also loses all chance to form a relationship with that parent.
There are causes for caution when establishing a case for Parental Alienations Syndrome. The syndrome should not be a cover up for or defense against instances where a parent actually is abusive or unfit. However, there are certainly instances when a parent’s anger and hatred against the other is inappropriately thrust upon the children, creating an intolerable conflict. Children have few choices in the situation and may simply lapse into believing lies against the accused parent. They simply refuse to have any contact with the person they believe is a villain.
Know the Signs
Parental Alienation syndrome has certain features that are evident in the children affected:
- A child becomes an ally of the alienating parent.
- The reasons for denigrating the target parents may be weak, frivolous, absurd or patently false.
- There is an abnormal or pathological degree of hatred by the alienating parent to the other.
- The child claims the decision to reject the other parent is made independently.
- The child automatically supports the ally-parent.
- The child has no guilt about rejecting the parent.
- The child seems to parrot situations described by the alienating parent.
- The child starts to hate and fear any extended family or friends of the target parent.