When going through a divorce, your attention is likely on the divorce itself. It is time consuming, stressful and can cause you a lot of heartache and headache. But you should also pay attention to your child, for their own sake.
Not only does this allow you to support them through the split, but it also lets you pick up on potential signs of parental alienation.
Behavioral signs of PAS stress
Psychology Today discusses parental alienation syndrome, which most children experience in this scenario. Parental alienation happens when a co-parent tries to intentionally drive a wedge between their child and ex-spouse. They have many reasons for doing this, but many of them are ultimately somewhat petty. Unfortunately, no matter what the reason, it can do serious and lasting damage to your child, your relationship and you.
Thus, you want to keep an eye out for red flags before things get out of hand. First, keep an eye on your child’s behavior. Many victims of parental alienation first display behavioral changes due to the stress this process creates. Your child may thus withdraw and grow despondent and seemingly depressed. On the other hand, they might lash out more and seem easier to agitate.
Increasing amounts of critique
Watch out for unsolicited criticism, too. Obviously, it is not uncommon for a child to complain about things every now and then. But what if there is a sudden and dramatic upswing in their criticism? Do they suddenly have something against just about everything you do? Does it include things they previously had no issues with? These can all potentially act as warning signs that point toward parental alienation.