Coping with the Parental Alienation Syndrome

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Most fathers are unaware of PAS at the time it happens to them. The incidents that lead up to it may seem chance happenings, or minor events that are not considered to be more than upsets. In retrospect they will be seen as part of an overall plan.

You should keep a diary and copies of all communications between yourself, the mother of your children, and your children as evidence.

The common pattern is:

a) The mother obstructs all attempts for you to communicate with her or the children in spite of saying 'she is not stopping the children seeing you'. She will not voluntarily inform you of anything, and may deliberately misinform you of the child.

b) The child will suddenly start making excuses for not seeing you. He or she may say they do not want gifts from you. Gifts sent will not be acknowledged, or may be returned, signed by the child. They may be kept but deliberately broken.

c) Though the child supposedly doesn't want to see you, it will also suddenly stop seeing anyone connected to you. This will include close relatives, friends, etc. They will even stop talking to your neighbours and anyone who might be in direct contact with you, and avoid the area you live in.

d) The mother will also stop contacting anyone connected to you in spite of outwardly claiming not to be involved in the child's attitudes.

e) The mother will pursue the strategy of being obstructive by going to the school, clubs, and places where your children regularly visit, and state to the authorities that you are not to contact your children there.

f) You will find that others close to the mother will not communicate with you.

g) Some mothers will outwardly indicate a willingness to resolve the situation by going to mediation, but when there will spend the time denigrating you, and will not offer any possible solutions to the problem. Any solutions that you propose will be undermined or dismissed.

In all, the mother's strategy will be to totally isolate you from the children by gradually breaking every line of contact you might have with her or the children. All such instances should be recorded, as it is an indicator that the child is frightened rather than hateful.


The most distressing event for the father is to get a hate letter from his child. It comes as a total shock, and puts the situation on another level. There is no way that the father can answer such a letter.

Such letters are quite common, and as you will see from some examples below, totally inconsistent with the way a child would normally write a letter. If there is more than one child, the father may well get a letter signed by all the children, or separate letters from each one at the same time. It is also common for such letters to state that the mother has not asked them to write it.

NOTE: The p.s. of 'wishing everyone a happy Christmas' is a typical addition that one feels is not the child's choice of words.

NOTE: The father is addressed as 'Mr Hockley'. The letter also has the implied threat that if the gifts are not forthcoming then he will be punished. Children playing the 'alienation game' is also a common factor.

NOTE: The father adds that it was written in pencil. This again is a form of saying 'I don't care about you'. She states that she will never see him again unless he stops lying, and then continues to state she is his 'X daughter', a conflict of intent.

This letter is from two boys aged 5 and 6. Hardly of the age to compose and post a letter without help.

NOTE: Very young children forced to write such letters  have little idea of what they are saying. They are much in the form of children saying 'I don't love you anymore' when a parent has upset them. Withholding love is the only weapon them have, and one they have learned to use.

Here are two letters from the same child. She is 8 years old, and addresses her father as Phill.

In the above letter she clearly indicates her love for the father while saying she doesn't want to see him.

Her brother sends the following letter.

Then both together send another letter. The alienation is complete. The children are around 6 and 8.

NOTE: Another instance of two children writing in the same letter. They make identical statements, which is unlikely for young children.

The following letter is from a girl around 14 whose mother remarried. It is one of a series that goes from being a loving child writing to his real father, through to this one.

NOTE: This letter, part of a series, was sent to me by the father's mother (the children's grandmother). Her story of events is quite different, as expected, but letters from the mother to the 'hated father' clearly indicate her part in the alienation process.


The common sense attitude is to ignore it. It is usually the last fling of the mother to get the children to write such letters. It is rare that the children will write more than one or two such letters. When children really hate you they ignore you totally.

The important thing about 'Hate mail' is that it is rarely - if ever - directed at any other member of the family. That is, the children do not hate everyone connected to the father, though they will commonly accept presents from grandparents without acknowledging them.

One enlightened Judge in the USA accepted that a hate letter from a daughter to her father was sufficient reason for the father to stop maintenance payments to the mother. If this rule was adopted, then mothers would very soon stop using children to act this way.