Massachusetts parents like you value your child before, during and after a divorce. Unfortunately, co-parents do not often hold the same amount of affection for each other. This can lead to parents making brash and harmful decisions.

For example, one parent may decide they no longer want their co-parent and child to communicate well. This is parental alienation and it can lead to parental alienation syndrome.

PAS as a form of psychological abuse

Psychology Today looks at parental alienation syndrome and its impact. PAS can impact children in the short and long term. Courts define it as a form of child psychological abuse. As such, it has many lasting and temporary negative effects.

Long and short term damage

In the short term, victims often feel guilt and confusion. They do not know why they are turning against their other parent. They often do not question the alienating parent and may feel disgust over the supposed actions of the alienated parent. This can lead to internal and external conflict. They may oppose authority figures in and out of the home. They may have a shorter temper and a lower tolerance for stress in life.

The long term damage can last well into the child’s adulthood. Many PAS victims struggle with relationships and trust issues. They have a higher rate of depression, anxiety and post traumatic stress disorder. Many also develop unhealthy coping mechanisms to deal with these problems.

If you notice early signs of PAS, consider speaking to your attorney about your potential legal options. When caught early enough, it is possible to reverse or limit the damage PAS can inflict.