Parental Alienation Syndrome: What Is It?

Parental alienation syndrome, which is often referred to as “PAS”, involves a type of behavior of one parent which is designed to disrupt the relationship between a child or children and the other parent. The deprivation of children of a loving relationship with one parent by the other parent can cause the children to experience psychological distress, and the destruction of the relationship with the other parent. When one parent alienates children from the other, this is a type of child abuse.

PAS And How It Is Accomplished

The usual first steps of one parent alienating children from another involve the interference with the non-custodial parent’s rights to have visitation and personal contact with the children. The residential custodial parent is technically obligated to foster the relationship with the children and the other parent. However, in PAS situations, instead of working with the other parent to build a harmonious, loving relationship with the children, one parent interferes with the parenting time and communication of the other parent with the children.

Inappropriate Comments

Negative statements made by the residential custodial parent such as the other parent has abandoned us, has cut us off from money, is a bad person, and similar statements confuses the children and has a negative impact on the children’s respect for the other parent. These actions by the residential parent have a subliminal effect in casting the other parent as a bad, evil, inappropriate person. Even when the children want to maintain a relationship with the other parent, the conflict created by the custodial parent between the custodial parent’s representations concerning the other parent and the children’s love and affection for the other parent creates a conflict that children have difficulty dealing with. What the residential parent is actually doing to the children is conveying his or her negative feelings, dislike and hatred of the other parent to the children and convincing the children to adopt those negative feelings.


When the custodial parent continually repeats negative statements, and/or negative incidents to the children concerning the other parent, these statements, even if untrue, end up being accepted as factual by the children. The children replace his or her warm, loving experiences with the other parent with false experiences which destroy the relationship with the other parent.


PAS damages children. Parents who hate each other should not confuse their children or subject their children into being brainwashed into believing they hate the other parent too. Children should love and respect both of their parents.father's rights advocate on long island

About Elliot S. Schlissel

Elliot S. Schlissel, Esq. has spent more that 45 years representing individuals in matrimonial and family law cases.