The prevalence of Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) has been observed and studied right since the 1940s. PAS occurs usually in case of a parent owning custody of a child, usually after a divorce or separation from the spouse. The mother or the father upon custody, imbibes tremendous hatred against the other parent which has no justifiable reason. Children insult, abuse and denigrate the parent and display a total lack of concern for him or her. This is sort of a brainwash or indoctrination infused by either the father or mother through both spoken words and unspoken behavior, as though the other parent is an enemy of the child.
PAS, according to Gardner, is a form of abuse which can be a thought-out procedure by the alienating parent, or simply arise in the child due to constant company of the alienating parent. Gardner further explains that this behavior is characterized into eight kinds of behavior patterns observed in a child. These are
- Sustained vilification of the separated parent by the child
- Very absurd and feeble reasoning given by a child for this malice against the targeted parent
- Maintaining a state of permanent discord against the target parent permanently
- A gut feeling and representation that the behavior is of his or her own accord or decision
- A habitual support of the alienating parent
- Absence of guilty feeling
- Portray or imitate the sentiments of the guardian parent
- A strong ill-feeling towards the target parent’s friends and family
In short, whether parental alienation syndrome is accepted by the authorities as a disorder or not, willful instigation of a child against the other parent is a form of mental harassment. The dispute of parents should be limited to themselves. For an innocent child, both parents play an integral part in its emotional development. A child is inherently above any biased feelings for any of the parents and needs their love and protection, equally.