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Posted by on Oct 24, 2017 in Parenting Tips, The Quest Project, Tips for Moms | 0 comments

Parenting Advice-On Divorce

Are you divorced or going through a divorce?  If children are involved be careful not to put them in the middle.  I’m certain you’ve heard that before! Based on my experience the kids wind up in the middle most every time.  It’s a sad place for them to be.


Parent alienation syndrome, or PAS is a “campaign of denigration” with no justification against one parent by the other using the child.  The alienating parent indoctrinates the child with untrue and unjustified criticism and complaints against the other parent.  In many cases this continues for years!

PAS typically rears its ugly head during a divorce.  If it’s a bitter divorce, and most of the time they are, one parent may attempt to turn the child/children against the other parent.  Unfortunately, the parent feels justified; most of the time it’s a way to “get back” at the other parent. 

The collateral damage?  You guessed it, the child.

Placing Blame

You’ve heard it a million times, when there is a divorce and children are involved, the children suffer most.  That is true and especially when one of the parents works diligently to convince the kids the “other parent” is to blame.

If you follow me you know that my work is with boys in The Quest Project®.  Periodically I see a mom trying hard to keep her son(s) from his dad and/or from being “like” his dad. 

Before you send me hate mail, I also see mom’s that work very hard to make sure the relationship between father and son stays intact, so please don’t take offense you’re doing the right thing – I’m not talking to you!  I see dads do this too, however in my experience it is not as often.

Important note: In the case where it’s determined dad or mom is not safe, then legal needs to intervene mandating supervised visits and/or parenting classes.  Or, when the justification is that mom and/or dad has a character flaw that you’re concerned about, it may be appropriate to feel this way but inappropriate to make it “black and white!”   Time to seek counseling.

Fathers and Sons

Moms frequently tell me they “don’t want their son to be like his dad.”  Or that they are afraid because their son “acts just like his father!”  More often, and ultimately a boy will be who he wants to be.  Unless you have concerns about his safety (see above) don’t keep your son away from his dad, it’s a mistake!  It will lead to multiple issues and hurt your son. He needs love, support and healthy direction from both parents.

Young boys need a man to help them develop into a man.  It takes a healthy circle of men to define a healthy man!  It’s innate and natural and you may not like it but he’s going to need a healthy male example to help him become a healthy man. 

Still Not Convinced?

Reading material on PAS is abundant.  Are you going through a divorce?  Have you considered you may be consciously or unconsciously alienating your child?  I encourage you to stop the behavior, your child will suffer the consequences and it will come back to haunt you both.

I know this can be a sore subject.  Do you have an experience with Parent Alienation Syndrome? How did you handle it?

Clayton Lessor
Clayton Lessor, PhD in education and counseling, is a Licensed Professional Counselor in private practice. He is author of "Generation of Men: How to raise your son to be a healthy man among men" and “Saving Our Sons: A Parent's Guide to Preparing Boys for Success." Dr. Clay has seen over 2000 boys since 2000 and facilitated over 300 The Quest Project groups. Boys attend a 10-week "boys to men program" where they and their parents will learn the tools needed to get through these turbulent teen years. Dr. Clay is a member of the Steering Committee for The Coalition to Create a White House Council for Boys and Men.
Clayton Lessor
Clayton Lessor

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