Children of divorced parents in Texas may experience many different emotions related to the family separation. However, estranged parents can make the situation less difficult for their children by keeping their own ill feelings about their ex-spouse to themselves. When a parent speaks unfavorably about their child’s other parent in front of them, some children develop a condition that social workers call parental alienation syndrome.
Children with parental alienation syndrome often completely reject one parent in favor of the other parent. These children develop intense feelings of hatred for the rejected parent and deny any positive memories that they may have shared with the parent. Although the child’s negative feelings about one of their parents may have been influenced by the other parent, the child will insist that their thoughts were formed independently.
A child who is demonstrating parental alienation syndrome will usually treat the less-favored parent very harshly. They will act rude and cold towards the parent and show no gratitude for any gifts or favors that the parent offers them. The child may even extend their hatred for the parent to other members of the family even though their grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins did nothing to deserve it.
A child may be less likely to develop parental alienation syndrome if both parents remain in their life after a divorce. A parent who is in a child custody dispute or one that involves visitation rights may want to seek help from a family law attorney. An attorney might also provide assistance to a parent who is seeking a modification to an existing custody order.