1. In ParentsBelow are the more common symptoms of parental alienation. Many of these behaviors will look familiar, because some alienation occurs in all divorces. Some symptoms may come as a surprise, because many don't think of the behavior as something that can hurt children. Common symptoms include:
- Allowing children to choose whether or not to visit a parent, even though the court has not empowered the parent or children to make that choice;
- Telling the children about why the marriage failed and giving them the details about the divorce settlement;
- Refusing the other parent access to medical and school records or schedules of extracurricular activities;
- Blaming an ex-spouse for not having enough money, changes in lifestyle, or other problems in the children's presence;
- Refusing to acknowledge that the child has personal property and denying the child control over taking personal possessions to the other parent's home;
- Rigid enforcement of the visitation schedule for no good reason other than getting back at the ex-spouse;
- Assuming the ex-spouse is dangerous because he or she had made threats in the past during an argument;
- False allegations of sexual abuse, drug and alcohol use or other illegal activities by the other parent;
- Asks the children to choose one parent over the other;
- Reminding the children that the children have good reason to feel angry toward their other parent;
- Suggesting adoption or changes in name should a parent remarry;
- Giving children reasons for feeling angry toward the other parent, even when they have no memory of the incident that would provoke the feeling, and especially when they cannot personally remember the incident or reasons for being angry;
- Special signals, secrets, words with unique meanings, or a private rendezvous arranged between the child and one parent;
- An intention to use children as witnesses against their other parent;
- Asking the children to spy or covertly gather information to be used later against the other parent;
- Setting up temptations that interfere with visitation;
- Giving the children the impression that having a good time on a visit will hurt the parent;
- Asking the children about the ex-spouse's personal life;
- Rescuing the children from the other parent when there is no danger.
2. In ChildrenThe symptoms of parental alienation describe a parent's behavior towards the child. It says nothing about how the parent's behavior impacts the child's behavior or attitudes towards the targeted parent. If parental alienation is successful and influences the child against the targeted parent, then the observer will see symptoms of parental alienation syndrome For example, if a child doesn't appear to have a problem with visits, one can safely conclude that parental alienation syndrome is not severe or present. That is not to say that parental alienation is not occurring, and in time the child may display severe symptoms of parental alienation syndrome. Often, children appear healthy until asked about the targeted parent. Some of the behaviors an observer can expect to see in the parental alienation syndrome child include:
- A relentless hatred for the targeted parent;
- Parroting the alienating parent;
- Refusing to visit or spend any time with the targeted parent;
- Having many beliefs enmeshed with those of the alienating parent;
- Holding delusional or irrational beliefs;
- Not being intimidated by the court's authority;
- Reasons for not wanting to have a relationship with the targeted parent based only on what the alienating parent tells the child;
- Difficulty distinguishing between personal memories and what he or she is told;
- No ambivalence in a child's feelings; feeling only hatred without the ability to see any good in the targeted parent;
- No capacity to feel guilty about behavior towards the targeted parent or to forgive any past indiscretions;
- Sharing the alienating parent's cause to destroy the relationship;
- Hatred extending to the targeted parent's extended family without any guilt or remorse.
"Relationship Estrangement and Interference is a form of Domestic Violence using Psychological abuse.”
~ Joan Kloth-Zanard of PAS Intervention.
PAS Intervention stands for Parental Alienation Support and Intervention. It is an International Non-profit organization to End Child Abuse and Parental Alienation.
The International Access and Visitation Centers conference was held in Toronto. The Parental Alienation Awareness Organization was there and spoke to most of the 200 or so practitioners. Of course all were familiar with alienation and its results. Everyone was not only gratified to see PAAO at the event; they all also acknowledged that PA is either a form of Domestic Violence or on the continuum of Domestic Violence behaviors.