It is not uncommon for children to feel as if they are choosing sides when
their parents go through a divorce. This is especially true if the
divorce involves heated arguments and the child is a young teenager in their formative
years. When the stress of the experience becomes too great, a child may develop
parental alienation syndrome (PAS) and begin to willfully or subconsciously push one parent
away while supporting or clinging to the other. Once PAS begins, it can
be difficult to address or reverse without the help of a professional.
Signs of PAS your child could demonstrate that you should keep an eye and
ear out for include:
Blame: In many divorces, there truly is no one to blame – both parents fall
out of love and decide to end the relationship. A child exhibiting signs
of PAS will outwardly blame one parent for the divorce without evidence
for doing so, and will likely praise the other.
Silence: If you are feeling as if you are getting “the silent treatment”
from your child after your divorce, it could indicate that they are mentally
and physically pushing you away. Children who were once active and talkative
may now refrain from speaking often until spoken to.
Refusal: Insubordination and a general lack of empathy for your difficulties –
such as refusing to complete their chores or help with daily tasks –
can be a clear symptom of parental alienation.
Outcast: Most cases of PAS involve a parent and the entire family of that parent
as being shunned or seen as outcasts by the child. Ask your immediate
family members if they have also been treated differently by your child
since your divorce.
Addressing the Signs of PAS
You may wish to speak with a family or child psychologist or psychiatrist
about what can be done when your child intentionally tries to harm your
relationship with them due to parental alienation syndrome. Counseling
sessions and trust exercises can be beneficial in some cases. In others,
the problem is more complex, and actually stems from your ex-spouse.
If you discover that your ex has been encouraging or enabling your child’s
PAS, legal action may be necessary to correct it. Ways exes may interfere
with you and your child’s relationship may include talking poorly
about you when you are not around, intentionally violating
child custody agreements, or emotionally toying with them. At R. Gregory Colvin, LLC,
our Orlando divorce lawyer can find a way to address your ex-spouse’s
actions, either by arguing that they are acting in
contempt of court orders or by moving for the strict enforcement of all your
Want to know more about our services?
Contact us today for a