Going through a divorce can be one of the most devastating time periods in a person’s life. Children of parents going through a divorce sometimes suffer excessively if one or both of their parents cannot separate their emotions regarding the divorce from the business of raising children. In the worst case scenario, children can suffer from Parental Alienation Syndrome. Often one parent will disparage the other parent in front of the child. In many cases, the child feels torn between the parents. In extreme cases, the child will side with the parent making the disparaging remarks and will come to believe that other parent is all bad or worthless. When a child cannot find any redeeming qualities about a parent and yet cannot verbalize anything that has occurred that would cause those feelings, this is a sign that one parent may be alienating the child from the other parent. Often the child will have had a good relationship with the parent before the separation began, but the child finds it easier to cooperate with the parent that is caring for him/her than to take sides. The child will refuse to see the alienated parent and a total breakdown in the parent/child bond occurs. Unfortunately, everyone suffers in this situation. Children suffer because they cannot benefit from having two loving parents. The parent that is alienated suffers because he or she cannot have a relationship with his/her child. The alienating parent suffers from an underlying psychological problem and cannot see the harm he/she is causing.
It is important for a parent who is alienated to take steps as soon as possible to rectify this situation. The longer the child and parent go without seeing each other, the longer it will take to rebuild the relationship. If a parent is being alienated, it is important to talk to an attorney to find out his/her legal rights. It is also helpful to find a counselor to help rebuild the parent/child bond. For more information you can check out these links to other articles: www.breathroughparenting.com/PAS.htm and fact.on.ca/Info/pas/walsh99.htm