If you recently got a divorce, you must keep an eye on your child’s mental health for many reasons. The divorce itself will surely be tough on them, but they can suffer through other troubles from outside sources, too.
Parental alienation is one of these potential troubles you may come across. Thus, it is important to spot the signs in advance.
Early signs of PAS
Psychology Today examines parental alienation syndrome and who it impacts. Parental alienation occurs when a parent tries to ruin the relationship between their child and co-parent. They will often go to great lengths to do this. They may even employ abusive methods, like gaslighting. Courts categorize it as child psychological abuse.
Parental alienation syndrome (PAS) is the result of parental alienation. You can often see it in children of divorce who are undergoing the brainwashing and manipulation from the alienating parent. Typical examples include a child showing sudden and obvious reluctance to spend time with you. In mild stages, they often get over this quickly once they are actually in your care. In severe stages, they will never warm up to you.
Children also display behavioral troubles as victims of PAS. Many have unstable moods and mood swings. Happy, energetic children may seem lethargic or depressed. Many exhibit sudden tempers, guilt and self-harming behaviors. They can cry or have tantrums without much prompting, too.
Keep an eye out for the things they say, as well. This is another big red flag. Do they sound like they are parroting back things they do not understand? Can they offer a rational explanation for their sudden disdain? If not, they may be struggling with PAS.