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Is Parental Alienation Syndrome common?

Is Parental Alienation Syndrome common?

No, genuine Parental Alienation Syndrome is not common, because the behavior must be extreme and meet all the criteria before the term "syndrome" can be applied. Most Parental Alienation doesn't meet these conditions. Parental Alienation can still occur, however, without it being at the level of a full-fledged 'syndrome'. The effects are still damaging to the child, perhaps only to a lesser degree .

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.


Did Dr. Richard Gardner "discover" PAS?

Did Dr. Richard Gardner "discover" PAS?

No, but he was the first qualified professional to recognize the cluster of symptoms that defines PAS and publish his findings and observations. He also originated the term "Parental Alienation Syndrome" or "PAS" to describe the cluster of symptoms, which can be found in various articles here.

Is not informing the non-custodial parent about child school and medical information considered part of parental alienation?

Is not informing the non-custodial parent about child school and medical information considered part of parental alienation?

Withholding access to school and medical information is not in and of itself parental alienation, but it can certainly be a component or facet of parental alienation.


I'm new to all this...where do I start?

I'm new to all this...where do I start?

If you're just getting started on the SPARC site, we'd suggest doing the following:

  1. Read the Steps To Protect Yourself page.


  2. Read the Tips For Getting Started page.


  3. Get an account on the message boards and start asking questions.


  4. Use the SPARC Search Engine to find specific information you're interested in on the message boards, or use this link to search the Articles.
After you've done that, come back here and browse the FAQ Center to see if there are any other topics that you'd like to find out more about. If you have questions that aren't answered in the FAQ Center, we encourage you to ask your question on the message boards.


We also suggest you take a look through the Articles Archive, which has almost 500 pages of practical, tips, tools, and techniques that cover numerous divorce and custody issues.


In general, your best source of continuing information will tend to be the message boards. It's a great place to ask questions, get ideas and advice, and to vent some frustration from time to time.

What is Parental Alienation Syndrome, or 'PAS'?

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:

  1. A campaign of denigration
  2. Weak, absurd, or frivolous rationalizations for the deprecation
  3. Lack of ambivalence
  4. The "independent-thinker" phenomenon
  5. Reflexive support of the alienating parent in the parental conflict
  6. Absence of guilt over cruelty to and/or exploitation of the alienated parent
  7. The presence of borrowed scenarios
  8. Spread of the animosity to the friends and/or extended family of the alienated parent


For more information on PAS, search the articles for "alienation".


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