As for the Parental Alienation Syndrome, there is no clear definition for it. It is about a child that is trashing one of his divorced parents.
Pathological alienation is an earlier term for PA. Realistic estrangement however is when a child is reluctant to see an abusive parent. This is of course justifiable.
PA is parent's behavior that damages the emotional and social well being of children. A parent is brainwashing his child to let it think that his or her loving parent is a jerk, that he does not care about his child. The purpose is to have the child dislike, hate, fear and avoid the other parent.
Most parenting alienation is related to divorce issues, mainly child custody disputes.
Signs of PA in children of divorce
One of the parents consciously or unconsciously brainwashes the child to finally achieve that the child prefers to stay with her or him. It is very sad for a child to be pushed in a situation in which it feels obliged to choose between one of their parents. They have 2 parents and they have the right to see and to bond with both of them. Parents should put their pride and frustrations aside.
In high conflict divorces, it happens very often that both parents try to alienate their child from the other parent. This is even more difficult for the child, because the child will be placed in the center of the disputes.
In some cases, the parental alienation is not inflicted by the parents. It could be other external forces causing alienation or it comes from within the child itself.
The family of the alientating parent can play a role in it too, as recent research suggests. There might be more complex forces at work than just the fighting parents.
An example of direct alienation behavior of a parent is talking negatively about the other parent frequently. Another is to blame the other parent for the divorce.
Indirect alienation is for example when one parent is keeping the child away from the other parent.
Related to PA is the Parental Alienation Organisation web site.
Return to the Child Divorce Psychology page.