Child Custody is Half the Battle: On Parental Alienation

ChildWhen you and your partner came to the point where divorce was the only solution to your marriage, perhaps finding a family law attorney was easy. As things get more complex, so is the emotional stress, especially when your relationship with your child is already involved.

If you are in the middle of a child custody case, maybe you have come to observe that your child is becoming more and more alienated from you. At some point, you may have somehow felt being denigrated by your own child. Is your mind playing tricks on you? Family law attorneys in Colorado Springs, CO may see things differently.

Unfortunately, this may already be a sign of parental alienation syndrome:

What is PAS?

Parental Alienation Syndrome was first described by Dr. Richard A. Gardner in the 1980s. He observed that over the course of a child custody dispute, the child develops denigrating behavior towards the non-resident parent. The condescending behavior may be the direct result of programming or by the resident parent against the other. One essential characteristic of Parental Alienation Syndrome is that the denigration does not come with any justification.

What are the Symptoms of Parental Alienation?

Symptoms may vary, but they are united by the fact that one parent receives the brunt of an unjustified denigration from the child. The following are some of the general ‘symptoms’ that may best define PAS:

  • The child’s denigrating behavior towards the target parent
  • There is no ambivalence on the part of the child
  • The alienating parent or the child offers outrageous, often unfounded rationalizations for the denigrating behavior towards the target parent
  • The alienating parent’s instantaneous support for the child’s denigrating behavior
  • The child’s obvious lack of concern or guilt over the mistreatment and exploitation received by the target parent
  • The growing animosity of the child towards the extended family and friends of the target parent
  • The child’s predisposition for borrowing scenarios
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Is There a Solution for This?

Psychologists believe the alienating behavior of parents might stem from their own personal inadequacies from infancy. While Freudian principles suggest a strong correlation between trust and control, psychologists consider the existence of other plausible explanations. Nonetheless, managing PAS will require extensive psychoanalytic therapy for both the alienating parent and the child.

The stress of going through the process of divorce is already great in itself. Adding parental alienation in the course of the child custody dispute further complicates the manner in which parents can live harmoniously following the divorce.