When going through a divorce, it is important to keep an eye out for your child. After all, an opportunistic co-parent may attempt to take advantage of your supposed lack of attention to try turning your child against you.
This is parental alienation and it is dangerous not only for you, but for your child as well. On top of that, it can result in parental alienation syndrome (PAS), which may impact your child well into adulthood.
Small red flags
Psychology Today takes a look at parental alienation syndrome as it manifests in children of divorce. PAS often appears in small ways at first. For example, your child may seem more reticent or withdrawn. They could appear gloomy or even depressed. They might refuse to contact their peers and spend less time around others.
On the other hand, they could lash out instead. They might behave in a violent or disruptive manner. They could turn against authority figures. They might seem easier to anger or irritate. Both of these may reflect the distress, guilt and turmoil that parental alienation puts them through.
PAS victims often deal with the repercussions throughout their lives, too. PAS sets up children for having bad coping mechanisms later in life. Many adult victims struggle with addiction in some form. A number also suffer with depression, anxiety or disorders related to stress and trauma.
If you notice any early warning signs that might point to PAS, you want to act quickly. This is the best way to prevent your child from suffering damage in the long and short term.