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Can parental alienation syndrome harm your child?

On Behalf of | Oct 28, 2020 | Family Law

Virginia parents like you often struggle after a divorce. It is hard to adjust to a life where you must share custody of your child with someone you have bad blood with. Most parents are able to work out a relatively amenable situation for both parties.

Some parents, however, take their disdain to the extreme. When that happens, you may have a case of parental alienation on your hands.

Tactics of parental alienation

Healthline first answers the question: what is parental alienation syndrome? This results from parental alienation, which is a type of child psychological abuse. It occurs when one parent forcefully separates their ex-spouse from their child. They do this through coercive and manipulative tactics. Some tactics an alienating parent may use include:

  • Exaggerating negative traits
  • Lying about your thoughts and opinions
  • Lying about the reason for divorce
  • Catastrophizing negative events

How PAS affects your child

They paint you in the most negative light to turn your child against you. This is harmful to you, but it is also damaging to your child. Children who suffer from PAS often struggle with relationships later in life. They have trouble establishing trust.

Some even struggle with depression or anxiety. Many develop unhealthy coping mechanisms. It is not uncommon for a PAS sufferer to turn to drugs or alcohol to cope with their struggles.

In mild or moderate cases of PAS, it is possible to reverse the damage done. But sufferers of more severe cases often face irreversible damage. It harms them throughout their childhood and adulthood. If you notice signs of PAS early, you may want to discuss with your lawyer what your options are.