Parental Alienation Syndrome

Excerpts from: Your Divorce Advisor
by Diana Mercer and Marsha Kline Pruett (Simon and Schuster, 2001).

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Indented paragraphs are quotes from the book.
Italics (not indented) point to other parts of the book relevant to the quotes.

Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS)
p. 256: The field of law and psychology has created a term for when a child does not want to visit the nonresidential parent, and expresses that refusal with venom and vehemence. The child shows disregard for the parent, maybe even hatred. The term is Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS). PAS occurs when the child becomes allied with one parent to the degree that they refuse to have any contact with the other parent. The hatred they express often reflects the feelings of their primary parent. They become echoes of one parent’s disdain for the other. This may be communicated directly to the children, until that parent cultivates negative feelings in the children that become deep rooted and unmalleable. When parents deny that they have conveyed such feelings to their children, it is often true that they have not discussed how they feel directly, yet they have conveyed their attitudes through unconscioius communications that the children pick up.

NOTE: pages 256-257 contain practical steps for parents who are victims of PAS.

p. 257: The rejected parent isn’t always pure and wronged, however. Parents whose children have been turned against them have generally contributed to the situation by acting in demanding, controlling, arrogant, or selfish ways that lend support to the other parent’s accusations. Examine yourself in a mirror. Are you ready to understand your role in what has happened? Children rarely turn on one parent so completely without some provocation, unless the alienating parent is so vulnerable that the child must support that parent to help her cope with the divorce.