Saturday, December 27, 2008

Another Way to Combat PAS

So this is my own journey, as I learn more about this syndrome, both for the sake of my skids, as well as for my clients who are victims of this awful practice.

At first, I thought combating PAS had to happen in the court system. The targeted parent needed the additional power/authority of a judge and an order backing up the child's need to have both parents. And this really is an important step.

Secondly, I focused on helping the children get a different story. When the only story they heard was from the alienating parent, then all of the energy of the targeted parent was used up attempting to "counter" that story. The other parent did NOT abandon you, the other parent did NOT stop loving you, the other parent has NOT started a whole new family and forgotten all about you. It was so important for the children to not feel a total loss.

Thirdly, I focused on restoring the targeted parent's "goodness" in the eyes of the child. Unfortunately, this is where a lot of (understandably) defensive targeted parents start. They cannot see that it's more important for their child's emotional needs to be met... they only see that they've been slandered, denigrated, trashed, etc. In many cases, they not only have to defend themselves against accusations being made to the children, but also public accusations that have huge consequences. So it's reasonable for the targeted parent to want to defend their reputation. But it should come third, after the children's emotional need has been met.

Fourth -- this is what I learned recently, or I should say, learned at a whole new level -- it's important to focus on modeling appropriate adult behavior for the kids to see. I commented on this in the "buying Christmas presents" thread. But it really came out for me recently when I was working with one of my clients, a targeted BM (rare!!), who worried about finding balance between time with her children, and time with adults in her life. She believed that spending time with adults during those precious few weekends when she had her children with her would take away from her time with her children. I asked her "when do your children EVER get to witness their mother being treated with dignity and respect by other grown-ups?" Never. "So the one and only model of behavior for how you are to be treated is the one they are getting from...?" Yep, that's right. From the man who has launched the non-stop denigration campaign for years.

Bottom line: let kids see their targeted parent interacting with other adults -- the ones who will honor that parent, show respect and dignity, and give energy to that parent. It is not only one more weapon in the arsenal against PAS, it is a gift to the kids.

We think of "teaching" our children by talking to them, instructing them, perhaps reading to them, explaining homework to them. We teach our children far more with our actions than we ever do with our words. Yet we don't spend anywhere near as much time truly examining the things we DO in front of our children and asking ourselves the key question: what is my child learning from me right now?

Blessings and positive energy to all... especially those who deal daily with PAS.


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