Discover the long-term impact of Parental Alienation Syndrome on adult children, including emotional scars, identity struggles, and strained relationships.

Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) is a term coined by Dr. Richard A. Gardner in the 1980s to describe a situation where one parent attempts to turn a child against the other parent during or after a divorce or separation. This well-documented and accepted concept within the field of psychology, and its effects on children who grow up to be adults are a subject of ongoing debate and research. Dr. Rina Gani, a prominent expert in family psychology and child development, has made significant contributions to our understanding of PAS and its long-term effects on adult children. Fathers 4 Justice South Africa explores the concept of PAS and discusses the potential impacts on children who have experienced it, drawing on the work of Dr. Rina Gani and other researchers in the field.

Understanding Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS):

PAS is characterized by one parent (usually the custodial parent) engaging in behaviours that systematically undermine the child’s relationship with the other parent (usually the non-custodial parent). This can involve negative comments about the other parent, limiting or interfering with visitation, and even false allegations of abuse. Over time, the child may become estranged from the targeted parent, developing strong negative feelings towards them. It’s important to note that PAS is a well-documented and accepted concept in the field of psychology, as not all experts agree on its validity or prevalence.

We would note that there are those in the legal and psychological field that dispute the existence of PAS, their primary objective being, to maintain the conflict between the warring parents and make sure that the child is abused for the sole purpose of generating grossly exorbitant fees over the longest period possible.

Dr. Rina Gani’s Contributions:

Dr. Rina Gani has been a significant voice in the study of PAS. Her research has focused on the long-term effects of PAS on adult children who were exposed to it during their formative years. Gani’s work highlights the importance of understanding the interplay between PAS, child development, and the emotional well-being of adult survivors.

Impact on Adult Children:

The effects of PAS on children who grow up to be adults can be profound and enduring. Some potential consequences include:

  1. Emotional and Psychological Impact: Adult children who experienced PAS may carry emotional scars into adulthood. They can grapple with issues like low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, and trust issues in their relationships. These emotional challenges can affect various aspects of their lives, from work to personal relationships.
  2. Impaired Parental Relationships: PAS can hinder an adult child’s ability to form healthy relationships with both parents. They may struggle to rebuild a positive connection with the alienated parent, leading to feelings of guilt or resentment. This can also impact their own future parenting abilities.
  3. Identity and Self-Concept: Adult survivors of PAS may struggle with their sense of identity and self-concept. The alienating behaviours they were exposed to may have warped their perception of themselves, making it difficult for them to form a coherent and healthy self-identity.
  4. Interpersonal Relationships: The effects of PAS can extend to adult relationships. Individuals who grew up in an environment of parental alienation may have difficulties with trust, intimacy, and forming secure attachments. These challenges can manifest in friendships, romantic relationships, and workplace interactions.
  5. Coping Mechanisms: Many adult survivors of PAS develop various coping mechanisms, such as avoidance, denial, or emotional detachment, as a result of the trauma they experienced. These coping strategies can be detrimental in the long run, hindering their emotional growth and overall well-being.
  6. Involvement in Future Conflicts: Some adult children affected by PAS may perpetuate a cycle of conflict in their own relationships or marriages, replicating the patterns of alienation they witnessed during their childhood.
  7. Legal and Financial Consequences: PAS can lead to ongoing legal battles between parents, impacting the adult child’s financial stability and overall well-being. Legal disputes can also cause further stress and emotional turmoil for the adult child.

Resilience and Recovery:

It is essential to note that not all adult children who experience PAS suffer these negative consequences. Many individuals exhibit remarkable resilience and are able to overcome the challenges they faced during their childhood. Interventions, therapy, and support systems can significantly contribute to their healing and recovery.

Dr. Rina Gani’s work underscores the importance of early intervention and therapeutic support for children exposed to PAS. By identifying and addressing the signs of alienation, professionals can mitigate its long-term effects on children.


The effects of Parental Alienation Syndrome on children who grow up to be adults are complex and multifaceted. Dr. Rina Gani’s research, among others, has contributed to our understanding of the potential long-term consequences of PAS. While not all individuals exposed to PAS will experience negative effects, it is crucial to recognize the potential harm it can cause and the importance of early intervention and support to mitigate these effects. Furthermore, addressing the unnecessary controversy surrounding PAS and conducting further research in this area is essential to better understand its dynamics and impact on children and their development.

Written By Gary Da Silva
Chairman: The Official Fathers 4 Justice South Africa

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