Recognizing and Preventing Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS)
While divorce is generally unpleasant for all parties involved, usually it is the children who are the most severely affected. It is all too easy for parents to get so caught up in their own emotional distress that they miss how their actions affect their children. Unfortunately, sometimes manipulative parents will attempt to turn their children against the other spouse. The resulting Parental Alienation Syndrome, or PAS, is a common issue that must be addressed appropriately during and after the divorce process.
What is PAS?
PAS is when one parent intentionally tries to sabotage a child’s relationship with the other parent. This is usually done so that they will be able to get an ideal custody situation, regardless of what is in the best interest of the child. An experienced family lawyer in Houston will be able to recognize the signs of developing PAS, and hopefully help stop it before it is too late. PAS is a process that takes time. A parent does not simply buy a child a new toy to change their thought process and influence the outcome of the divorce.. Planting negative seeds, telling lies, and misrepresenting the spouse are all common methods used to gain favor from children in limbo.
There are many signs that a parent is not handling the divorce in a healthy way in regard to their children. A good family lawyer in Houston will be able to help you to identify the problem, but there are times when you may need to recognize it on your own. There are obvious red flags as well as subtle ones. For example, if your child is clearly unhappy with you for no apparent reason, it may be because the other spouse has said something. However, it is essential that you do not attempt to question the child, as that can just cause further confusion and feelings of resentment. The most obvious sign of PAS is when a parent makes disparaging comments about the other spouse in front of a child.
Your court case is a matter between you and the spouse. Neither of you should be discussing the case with your children at any time. If your children are asking questions about the case, or if they say anything related to it, you should call a family lawyer in Houston immediately. Protecting your relationship is possible with help of an attorney, but you need to act quickly. If your spouse refuses to allow visitation rights, that is another way to cause PAS.
How Does a Child Fall Victim to PAS?
If a child does begin to seem like they favor the other parent, it can be very discouraging. It is important to keep in mind that many children are not developed enough to understand that they are being manipulated. If they feel like they are caught in a constant push and pull, simply choosing a side can seem like an easy way to make the struggle stop. They may also want to avoid feeling rejected by the other spouse, or incurring their anger if they disagree. In many cases, siding with one parent is just an attempt to resolve conflict.
What Can You Do?
The moment you detect any signs of PAS, contact a family lawyer in Houston immediately. If your custody rights have already been established, it may be possible to modify them in your favor. If you are still going through the divorce proceedings, proof of PAS can work to your advantage. Ramos Family Law has the skills and experience to be able to help you in this difficult situation. Call 713-225-6200 today to schedule a consultation about PAS.