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How to prevent parental alienation

Parental alienation syndrome or PAS is a phenomenon where a child rejects one of his or her parents following a divorce. The Center for Parenting Education describes it as affecting about 10% to 15% of all children after a divorce.

Parental alienation can occur due to the favored parent’s behavior.

Understanding PAS

Parental alienation may present as a child who has strong negative feelings towards one parent. He or she may express anger with a parent but have no clear reasons for it. When there are reasons, they may be superficial. Often, children who have parental alienation syndrome do not show remorse for the rejected parent.

Preventing PAS

Sometimes parents are not aware of parental alienation. They may alienate their children without realizing it.

To prevent PAS, do not reinforce negative comments about the other parent. If you slip up, try to make amends for what you said. Follow up with a positive comment about the other parent and inform your child that you made a mistake because you were upset. Let your child know that you value his or her relationship with your ex.

If your child expresses anger, find out why. Unless it is an abusive situation, help him or her come up with a solution. For instance, if your child complains about his or her parent’s strict rules, advise him or her to discuss those issues with the rejected parent.

Try not to compare yourself to your ex. For example, if you are better at time management, do not compare your ability to be on time to your ex’s chronic lateness.


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