Parental Alienation Syndrome

by Dr. Reena Sommer

Author of Developing An Effective Parenting Plan

The Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) is the extreme end of custody battles gone bad in high conflict divorce cases. Parental Alienation Syndrome has only recently been recognized in the divorce literature as a phenomenon occurring with sufficient frequency and with particular defining characteristics as to warrant recognition. Today, the Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) as a byproduct of custody battles is attracting the attention of divorcing parents,social service agencies, doctors, teachers, clergy, divorce attorneys and divorce courts. As well, it is an issue that has fueled considerable debate with respect to the validity of its existence. Opponents and critics of the Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) continue to argue that it does not exist simply because of its absence from the DSM-IV. This argument which might have face validity, neglects this extremely salient counter argument:

Would this line of reasoning hold today if one was to argue that because attention deficit disorder was not previously included in the DSM publications that it never existed before? - CERTAINLY NOT!

Regardless of the arguments put forth to discount Parental Alienation Syndrome's (PAS) existence and validity, it is difficult to argue and explain how a previously strong, intact, positive and loving relationship between a parent and child disintegrates and transforms into outward hostility toward the parent by his or her child, usually following separation or some other significant family reorganization involving high levels of conflict. In spite of the divisiveness on this issue, one issue that few will debate is the fact that too many children are caught in a "tug of war" between their separated parents.

Click this link to review Dr. Sommer's Report, Children's Adjustment to Divorce, which highlights and explains the Parental Alienation Syndrome.