A heated divorce will not only affect the emotions of both spouses but also those of their children. It is not uncommon for children and teenagers to lose a sense of trust in either or both parents, resulting in them distancing themselves as they try to sort the situation out. By the time child custody agreements are finalized, a child may decide to push one parent as far away as possible. When this behavior becomes consistent and even edges on aggression, it is known as parental alienation syndrome, or PAS.
Signs of Parental Alienation
If you have been through a divorce recently and notice that your child treats you callously or ignores your presence, PAS could be to blame. Most of the time, the symptoms are subtle, but the sooner you can catch them, the sooner you can start to sort things out through counseling or family conversations.
Spotting any of these behaviors could be indicative of PAS:
- Good and bad: Your child blames everything bad on you and everything good on your spouse. This black-and-white mentality may seem completely reasonable to them.
- No relation: A child exhibiting PAS will reject communication with you and your next of kin.
- Seclusion: Teenagers like to keep their bedroom doors shut as they establish their “own world” but if they absolutely refuse to let you in, PAS could be at hand.
- Irrationality: Lashing out or pushing further away for virtually no valid reason, such as you eating the last of the leftovers of a shared meal.
- Dishonesty: PAS children will often make promises they never intended to keep since they believe they do not owe you anything since the divorce.
- Moodiness: One of the first signs of PAS is uncontrolled mood swings. Your child may still be close to you but be wrestling with an array of emotions.
Addressing PAS as Soon as You Can
You need to try to reconnect with your child if they are showing PAS symptoms and behaviors. You can do this by simply sitting down and talking with them – don’t be hesitant to tell them the truth, that you think PAS might be affecting them. You can also turn to professional counsellors for help, or just trusted friends and family members.
Sometimes the problem is not entirely sourced from them. PAS behavior can be easily encouraged by your spouse, who might spend their time with your child setting you up like a villain. When such a situation arises, you need to call upon a professional family law attorney for legal advocacy. Our Long Island divorce lawyers from Hedayati Law Group P.C. may be able to use legal influence and modifications to child custody or visitation agreements to prevent your spouse from intentionally damaging your relationship with your children.
Call 631.880.6440 for a free consultation with a team that has 80+ years of collective experience.