Some degree of low-level alienation by parents isn't uncommon in a large number of divorce and custody cases. In some respects, minor instances of alienation are understandable (but not condonable) since divorce is usually a very stressful and antagonistic process, and a contested custody issue can be even more adversarial. During times like this, the animosity can often reach very high levels, causing parents to do or say things they wouldn't ordinarily do. There's no excuse for alienating behavior, but it's easy to see how some alienation can occur without a necessarily premeditated malicious intent.
What is Parental Alienation Syndrome, or 'PAS'?
Parental alienation syndrome, PAS, is a psychiatric disturbance that arises in the context of litigated child custody disputes, especially when the dispute is prolonged and acrimonious.
Parental Alienation is frequently described as a situation where one parent intentionally attempts to alienate his or her child from the other parent, by poisoning his mind, and usually succeeds. Its primary manifestation is the child's unjustified campaign of denigration against a parent. It results from the combination of a programming (brainwashing) parent's indoctrinations and the child's own contributions to the vilification of the parent.
Genuine PAS often includes the following symptoms/behaviors:
For more information on PAS, search the articles for "alienation".