Recognizing Parental Alienation Syndrome
Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) is a series of behavioral activities through which one parent persuades his child to hate the other parent. Such actions make a healthy relationship impossible with either parent and as a result, the child may experience significant and chronic psychological distress.
PAS is a form of child abuse and daycare providers need to watch for signs of the syndrome. When a custodial parent is guilty of this form of child abuse, a daycare provider may witness him/her:
*Actively prevent the other parent from having contact with the child
*Upbraid the other parent in front of the child
*Threaten to throw the child out of the home, stop loving him, or withdraw financial support
*Actively teach the child to reject or fear the second parent
*Make false accusations that the other parent is abusive
The daycare provider may also notice a general deterioration in the parent/child relationship.
By taking active steps to inhibit contact between the child and his other parent the custodial parent robs the child of his inalienable rights. The parent/child relationship is like a biological and emotional contract that never expires. Each parent has given parts of himself to create the child who is a bit of both parents plus something of himself. Learning about his parents helps a child to learn about himself.
It is best when two parents can both give of themselves to the child within the home, but when this is not possible the unfortunate fact is that the child becomes a guest of sorts in the non-custodial parent's presence. While this is a sad fact, the child should at least be allowed to benefit from the strengths and knowledge of the non-custodial parent and to see that his parents can get along well enough to provide him the idea that they both love him and that they can work together for the benefit of this shared commodity: the child.
Pulling together for the sake of the child in terms of parental decisions and emotional/financial support is crucial for the child's psychological development. Without this firm parental backbone, the child feels a sense of insecurity about his parents' relationship to himself and doesn't learn how to bridge the gap between a relationship impasse and mutual concerns. He doesn't learn respect for those who are different than himself. He doesn't learn about flexibility. He doesn't feel that his parents love him enough to set aside their disagreements long enough to give him what he needs. All of this bodes ill for his future interpersonal relationships.