California parents like you want what is best for your child. This means swallowing your pride and personal grievances during a divorce to present the best possible face for them.
Unfortunately, not all parents can agree on this. Many parents let their emotions and thoughts get in the way of their care for your child. This is often how parental alienation starts.
What is parental alienation?
Psychology Today discusses parental alienation syndrome (PAS) and its potential impact. PAS is a result of parental alienation, which the court deems a form of child psychological abuse. Parental alienation happens when the alienating parent tries driving a wedge between your child and you. They may have many reasons for doing this, but the end result is the same: your relationship with your child ends up damaged. It is inexcusable.
How does it affect your child?
When a child suffers from PAS, they often display several telltale traits. First, you will notice that they begin to reject you out of nowhere, seemingly without a trigger. One day, they may simply decide to refuse visiting you.
If asked about their refusal, children of PAS often cannot explain in concrete terms why they do not wish to see you. They may parrot back things they heard from the alienating parent. They may simply say you are “bad”, but have no way of backing this up.
Children may also display signs of grief, confusion and guilt. After all, they love both of their parents from the start. When one tries turning them against the other, it can cause many conflicting feelings. They may feel bad about pushing you away or confused about why your co-parent suddenly hates you. These conflicting feelings can sometimes lead to your child acting out, which acts as another warning sign to keep an eye out for.