Listen. Listen. Listen.
What can I do about Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS)
Educate yourself. Take an active part in helping your child if you believe they are a victim of PAS. Speak to an attorney to have an advocate in court. Speak with a therapist who will help you better understand PSA and its effects and will help you navigate the emotional impact it is having on your child and you. Understand the child’s behavior, and as difficult as it is, try not to take it personally. Remember, your child has been brainwashed and it will take some time for them to heal.
In her article, “5 Steps to Reversing Parental Alienation,” Joanne Law discusses what a parent can do to help their child if they are a victim of PAS.
These are the 5 steps the author recommends you take to help you reconnect with your alienated child.
1. Stop Talking about Brainwashing
Your child won’t respond well to any criticism of what you see as their programmed mental state regarding you. They don’t think that they are brainwashed. Instead of trying to convince them with words show them through your behavior that anything negative they may be thinking or being told about you isn’t true. That way they will realize for themselves that there is a huge disconnect between what they are being told in the alienating home and what their real-life experience is with you.
2. Seek as much time as is reasonably practical
Spend time with your child every chance you get. It is important that you are as dependable in the time you spend with them as you can be. If you say you are going to see them, don’t cancel. If you do, it will reinforce any negative messages your ex is giving them that they are your lowest priority.
3. Give options, ask for their opinions
Kids don’t like to be told what to do all time. Instead of telling them what you are going to do during the visit, ask them. Give them some options to choose from or ask them what they would like to do with you. It makes them feel grown-up and appreciated. Involving them will have some great long-term benefits for you and your relationship with them.
4. Be the opposite of your ex-partner
If your ex has a personality disorder such as narcissism one of the key characteristics is that they lack empathy. They usually can’t accept that their kids may have different feelings from their own. While they spend their time wrapped in negative energy, you need to provide an abundance of love and positive energy. Any child spending time with a drama-free parent or in a drama-free home will, over time, feel comfortable and safe there.
5. Be a good listener
Parents who alienate aren’t good listeners. It’s hard for them to listen empathetically because they’re so consumed with themselves. So, you need to start actively listening to what your child is saying. This will show them you are interested in and care about what they think, and how they feel.
These 5 steps are just a start, but they will help you and your alienated child develop a healthy, loving, life-long relationship. It takes time, sometimes months or even years, so be patient with your child and yourself.