Parental Alienation Syndrome – PAS Warning Signs

Parental Alienation Syndrome is a disorder in which a child on an ongoing basis belittles and insults one parent without justification. The term Parental Alienation Syndrome was first introduced by Richard A. Gardner over 30 years ago. Its primary manifestation is an unjustified child’s campaign of denigration against a parent.

Below are some of the warning signs for Parental Alienation Syndrome.


Parental Alienation Syndrome Symptoms: Child/Children

Using foul language and rebellious behavior to resist the alienated parent.

The child gives absurd, ridiculous or weak explanations for their outbursts.

The child is confident in themselves and will demonstrate only hate for the alienated parent.

The child argues that they alone have decided that alienated parent is bad. Saying things like: “No one told me to do this.”

The child expresses a need to support and protect the other parent.

The child shows no sign of guilt for their cruelty toward the alienated parent.

The child describes scenarios that they could never have experienced or scenarios they have borrowed.

Their anger and cruelty is spread to the alienated parents friends, family, and even pets.


In severe cases the child may reach a point where they don’t want to spend any time with the alienated parent.


Parental Alienation Syndrome Symptoms: Offending Parent

Offending parent discourages independence of child/children. For example: the child learning to put him or herself back to sleep, potty training and self caring for hygiene are all delayed or ignored.

Offending parent encourages continued dependence of children on them, sometimes cites reason of “safety”.

Offending parent may insist on sleeping with the child, feeding the child and taking care of these things long after child should have matured past needing them.

Offending parent incapable of understanding alienated parent is capable of planning time with child/children. Offending parent may sign child/children up for activities during alienated parents time without permission of alienated parent.

Offending parent may try to influence who the child/children may see or not see (e.g. convincing the child to exclude specific members of the alienated parent’s family).

Offending parent may make promises for the alienated parent to keep if he or she wants to keep the children happy. For example: They may have promised that the alienated parent would buy them things or take them places without the alienated parents consent.


Parental Alienation Syndrome – 3 Types

Dr. Douglas Darnall in his book Divorce Casualties: Protecting Your Children from Parental Alienation discusses the three categories of Parental Alienation Syndrome.

Mild Category – Naive Alienators.

The child is unaware of what they are doing and are willing to try and change. They are merely subconsciously and unintentionally lashing out.


Moderate Category – Active Alienators

The child may lose control and cross boundaries. They are not in control of their emotions. When they’ve settled down they are reluctant to admit the loss of control.


Severe Category – Obsessed Alienators

The child operators from a delusional system where every part of their being is committed to the destruction of the alienated parent. Sadly many professionals believe the only way to treat a child that has reached this severe category is to remove them from the alienating parent.


Why does it happen?

One theory is that the offending parent acts this way because they don’t see the child/children as separate beings. The children are merely extensions of themselves and when the alienated parent takes this child/children away for their time, to the offending parent it’s as if the alienated parent is taking a limb away from the offending parent. This separation may feel like the offending parent is being pulled apart or losing a piece of themselves while the child/children are gone.


What happens if Parental Alienation is not stopped?

With the help of proper psychological care the alienation can be reversed. However it won’t work if the offending parent is not contained. In severe cases of Parental Alienation Syndrome the child will gradually sever all contact with the alienated parent.


If you suspect that you or someone you know is suffering from Parental Alienation Syndrome, get help. You should contact a mental health professional and a lawyer that specializes in Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) and find out if your suspicions are correct.