Parent Alienation vs. Abandonment

Divorce is unfortunately a regular, everyday occurence. Court systems are slammed with divorce and child custody cases everyday. Couples in a divorce case will often times fight over money, belongings, and the biggest fight is usually over the kids. It is so sad that a lot of times the kids get put in the middle and are almost a “prize” for the parent who “wins” custody. I have been divorced for 3 1/2 years and know too well just how brutal it can be. In ideal cases, the parents split amicably and both have their childrens’ best interest at heart. Divorce is so hard for the kids. There is a change in family dynamic, sometimes a change in homes and/or school, and the insecurity of what will happen next. Sometimes kids carry these insecurities and pushed down feelings into their own relationships and unfortunately end up with the same awful fate for their own children.

The biggest issue as well as the most delicate is the kids. When a divorce doesn’t end well the kids can be torn apart and pulled in an effort to pick sides. Parent Alienation Syndrome is a new name, but it isn’t a new problem. Often times parents talk about and openly disrespect the other parent in front of the kids. When a marriage ends because of the betrayal of one spouse, the other spouse wants to the kids to be as angry and hurt as they are. Going through a divorce is so stressful and definitely alters your normal choices and decisions at times, but that shouldn’t happen or affect effective parenting.

My marriage did not end well at all, but I firmly believe that what happens between spouses stays between spouses. I believe with my whole heart a person can be a terrible spouse, but a great parent. I also believe kids need both parents. It is unfair and a complete disservice to turn kids against the other parent. Especially if this is done through false accusations of any kind of abuse that can ruin the reputation of the other parent. Although someone might not be your husband/wife anymore, they will always be your kids’ mother/father and trying to get kids to be disrespectful to the other parent is disrespectful to the child as well. It isn’t as simple as trying to get them to take sides. It is clear manipulation and cruel to play with their heads. I think this leads to trust issues for the children later on because they are supposed to be able to trust their parents before anyone else and if that has been tarnished they feel they can’t trust anyone. It will eventually backfire on the parent also.

ON THE OTHER HAND, I feel that Parent Alienation Syndrome is used sometimes as an excuse for parents not holding up their responsibilities to their children. A parent that abandons his/her kids can always try to use Parent Alienation as an excuse. I think these false accusations of the other parent is just as repulsive as one parent falsely accusing the other of abuse. PAS is simply a scapegoat for some parents who wish to put the blame on anyone other than themselves. I think we need a new word for abandonment. Parents are adults and can handle a lot more emotionally and mentally than children can. What about Child Abandonment Syndrome, or CAS? There are so many lasting effects mentally and emotionally for kids that are abandoned by a parent. I think that parents who choose not to be a part of their childrens’ lives should have more consequences and punishment for abandonment. I have been dealing with the legal system and I am disappointed in how child support cases are handled. A woman who takes her ex back to court for not paying child support should not be faced with charges of alienation when the other parent clearly has chosen not to see his children. If I falsely accused my ex of sexual abuse I would be jailed for those accusations. And, I probably should be. I directly affected my childrens’ relationship with their other parent. BUT, what about being falsely accused of mentally and emotionally abusing your kids through alienation. What punishment does that hold?

There are mothers all over the country who are in dire financial situations and on welfare because they aren’t getting child support. It is a process to get your children what they deserve financially. A man/woman using the excuse of Parent Alienation to justify not being responsible for his/her kids is abusing a problem that does actually exist in some situations.

What is your opinion/experience on this subject?


  1. My sister is going through a divorce right now and is very careful about what she says about their dad. Kids have to go through enough, they don’t need one parent bashing the other. I think doing that leaves them confused and even more hurt. Thanks for the the thoughtful article.

  2. erin says:

    I guess Parent Alienation can happen even when parents are splitting up – but when they forget not everything is for children’s ears and fight and insult the other spouse in front of the kids. My sister’s husband does that …

    I think kids need support and not to have their parents problems placed on their little shoulders.

  3. david a says:

    I think PA is real, though it can be misused and misapplied, as you say.

    Here is my personal experience with Parental Alienation. Warning, strong language. I’d be interested in any feedback. I hope this video helps other people in similar situations. Thanks.

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