Perhaps your previously happy-go-lucky children have now become withdrawn and even hostile towards you following your divorce. You might also notice that they seem more agitated after spending time with your former spouse. Could your kids be suffering from Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS), a condition in which a brainwashed child acts out toward a targeted parent? Here are eight common indicators of PAS.

1.    The other parent asks the children to secretly snoop into your personal business, such as dating, friendships and private activities. The children think that sneaking around is normal in a relationship. They feel tense because they love both parents, and they do not want to be put in a position of having to choose between them.

2.    The other parent keeps secrets, shares private confidences or uses special code words to destroy your relationship with your children.

3.    The other parent lets the children choose to skip visits or end visits prematurely, despite a court-ordered schedule. He or she blames the non-custodial parent for the conflict, and the children become angry.

4.    The other parent fails to cooperate regarding activities, schedules, vacation plans and other events.

5.    The other parent discloses sensitive personal information about the divorce or relationship to diminish the children’s respect for you.

6.    The children get defensive when confronted with evidence that Parental Alienation has occurred. They use the same language that the other parent does when describing your quirks or the “bad things” you’ve allegedly done to the family. In other words, the children have no awareness that these ideas have been programmed in them.

7.    The other parent becomes upset when the children have fun during your visits. Children develop feelings of guilt for enjoying themselves around you, almost as though they are betraying the alienating parent by doing so.

8.    The other parent will not adjust schedules to meet the child’s needs. For example, the child wants to attend summer camp, but the camp falls during your scheduled family vacation. The other parent will sign the child up for camp anyway and blame you for not being flexible.

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Photo of Jason C. Brown Jason C. Brown

Jason Brown is a founding shareholder with the Brown Law Offices, P.A., a northwest Twin Cities divorce and family law firm. He is an honors graduate of Minnesota State University, Mankato, and the William Mitchell College of Law. Jason has been recognized as

Jason Brown is a founding shareholder with the Brown Law Offices, P.A., a northwest Twin Cities divorce and family law firm. He is an honors graduate of Minnesota State University, Mankato, and the William Mitchell College of Law. Jason has been recognized as a “Super Lawyer” by Thomson Reuters. Media appearances include WCCO Radio, KARE 11 Television, the Star Tribune, USA Today, Time Magazine, Minnesota Monthly and NBC News.