The process of divorce can be very difficult for children to handle. It can create feelings of sadness, anger, and fear. While these complicated emotions are not unusual, a manipulative parent may abuse the situation to create a greater sense of fear in the new family dynamic. When going through a custody battle, it is important to be aware of any personality disorders your former spouse may be diagnosed with and how they may affect your children. Be on the lookout for any changes in your child’s behavior, specifically extreme or unwarranted hostility, disrespect, or fear toward you. This concept is known as Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS).
What Is PAS?
PAS originated from Forensic Psychiatrist Richard Gardner when he noticed that children were turning against one of their parents following a divorce or custody battle. It occurs when one parent has a tendency to demonstrate alienating and narcissistic behavior. This parent may make derogatory or demeaning comments towards or about the other parent while the child is present. It is a form of manipulation that can occur whether the parents have shared custody or a non-custodial agreement.
What Are the Signs of PAS?
There are many manifestations of PAS that you as a parent can identify. Children who are alienated tend to avoid contact and communication with you and your extended family. They may appear rude, cold, and ungrateful. They may ask that you not attend a sports event or school function. If confronted about this sudden disengagement, they may give unrelated reasonings or present arguments that are untrue to the situation. For example, the child may say that they do not want you attending their baseball game because of your appearance. Children who are alienated by a manipulative parent will see you as flawed and believe that the other parent can do no wrong.
During a consultation, an experienced attorney can help you determine the best course of action and alleviate any anxiety you may be feeling about the divorce proceedings when it comes to doing what’s best for your children.
At Andersen, Tate & Carr, our attorneys are dedicated to reaching the best possible outcome for our clients. Family law attorney Trinity Hundredmark has a decade of experience representing clients divorcing in Georgia. For more information, contact our law office at 1-770-822-0900.