If you have not done so already, you can request an evaluation in order to clearly demonstrate that the alienation has occurred and is being reinforced through the other parent. For an article on the signs of PAS, click here.
You can request therapeutic intervention. The therapist will work with the alienated parent and child, separately and together, to reunite them gradually. For more information, click here.
One of the sad aspects about alienation is that forcing your child to see you when he doesn’t want to often just reinforces his view of you as an ogre or a bully. Your efforts are invariably “misunderstood” through negative misinterpretation or attribution of intent. Even if the court forces your child to see you, it may not improve your relationship. A therapeutic route is always a better bet than a legal one. However, often you cannot change your child’s opinions, no matter what you try. You may then have to wait it out. Keep in contact from a distance, dropping notes or calling occasionally to remind your child that you care, that you are abiding by his or her wishes, but that you want things to be different. It may take years, but if you have been wronged, children generally figure this out on their own. It is sad to both of you when you realize you have wasted precious time, but your child will appreciate how you hung in, and will feel loved and appreciated. This seems like a meager reward compared to what you endured, but in the end, you are likely to find each other again.
The rejected parent isn’t always so pure and wronged, however. Parents whose children have been turned against them have generally contributed to the situation by acting in demanding, controlling, arrogant, or selfish ways that lend support to the other parent’s accusations. Examine your reflection carefully in the mirror. Are you ready to understand your role in what has happened? Children rarely turn on a parent so completely without some provocation, unless the alienating parent is so vulnerable that the child must support that parent to maintain her coping, to whatever minimal extent it is operating. In the latter situation, it is difficult to fight such strong influences. The passage of time, patience, and consistently nurturing behavior can amass the power to turn around such complex, ingrained dynamics.
Excerpted from Your Divorce Advisor: A Lawyer and a Psychologist Guide You Through the Legal and Emotional Landscape of Divorce (Simon & Schuster/Fireside 2001). For more information: http://www.yourdivorceadvisor.com/.
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