Parental alienation syndrome (PAS): a form of child abuse

The separation of a marriage is not easy for those affected, and the way they can react to the other party seems incredible. The hatred that they are able to feel for each other has caught the attention of many psychologists, as the often unimaginable contemptuous behaviors that can be seen in this situation mask the love they may have heard. in his time the ex-partner.

But the problem is compounded when there are children in between. They can suffer more than anyone from this painful situation. Especially when parents use them to hurt themselves. This is known as Parental alienation syndrome.

What is parental alienation syndrome?

Parental alienation syndrome (PAS) is a set of symptoms that are a consequence of a parent’s use of different strategies, which influences children’s thinking with the intention of destroying the relationship with the child.

SAP can occur when the child is influenced by one parent (parent A) to reject the other parent (parent B). For example, parent A may tell the child that parent B does not want to visit him, when in fact, parent B is working.

On many occasions, this type of negative influence, used repeatedly, causes the child to reject the other parent.

We need to think about parental alienation syndrome and the real danger of parents who use this type of behavior to hurt their ex-partner, like the child is the one who really suffers the negative consequences of this situation. But this issue should also be treated with caution, as some parents, in their legal defense, may accuse the other ex-partner member of using SAP even though this is not true.

Signs of parental alienation syndrome

How do alienating parents act? Here are the typical behaviors of parents who run SAP:

  • Underestimate, insult or devalue to the other parent in front of the child, mentioning the couple’s problems that have nothing to do with the parental bond.
  • Explain the details of divorce to a child when the ex-spouse is not present, but as if the latter were the culprit. What the parent is looking for is for the child to think the other parent is the victim and, in this way, not empathize with them.
  • Don’t let the right to live together of the child with the other parent.
  • Influencing children with lies the other coming to scare them.
  • Include family and friends in attacks against the other parent.
  • Underestimating or ridiculing children’s feelings to the other parent.
  • Gratify and reinforce derogatory behavior and rejection on the part of the child towards the other parent.

The causes of this phenomenon

Why might a parent want to harm their child’s relationship with the other parent? The causes may differ from parent to parent, as each case is usually different. Here are a few:

  • Anger built up during the relationship for not dealing with issues the right way. Lack of anger control can lead, in these cases, to parents not being able to separate relationship issues from their parenting roles.
  • Self-esteem issues. This causes emotional dependence on the other parent.
  • Lack of social skills and difficulties of expression and understand emotions. They may be unable to empathize with the child and the ex-spouse.
  • Personality disorders. For example: narcissism or borderline personality disorder.

Preventing SAP is the best therapy

Parental alienation syndrome is a complex phenomenon due to the environment in which it occurs. This is a real problem that can be encountered by separated families or families in the process of breaking up. it is also manifested in the judicial field. There are a lot of men and women who use their children as a weapon against each other and make them think negative thoughts about the other parent.

The American Psychological Association did not recognize it as a disorder and therefore does not appear in the DSM-V. But the pain it can cause for the actors is devastating, as the emotional damage it causes can affect boys for the rest of their lives.

The best way to treat it is to prevent it. Because once that happens, you have to attack from different fronts. For a child to suffer from parental irresponsibility is extremely unfair. For that, parents’ attitude to their break-up is crucial for their child’s well-being.

Since PAS is a form of child abuse, once it has occurred and is diagnosed, it can have legal consequences. For example, the change of custody of the child to re-establish ties with the parent who is the victim of parental alienation. Sometimes it may happen that the child refuses, which is why the problem should be treated with great care. Therapy is needed to reverse the situation, and in many cases it is the judge himself who can intervene.

Bibliographical references:

  • Infocop

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