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Similar to this question, except it just started yesterday, and the child is 3.


My son is 3, turning 4 next month. My ex was inching to take away my weekend visits, and I compromised (since it's summer). She then tried taking away my one weeknight from visitation, and I said no. She turned hostile towards me, and I did my best to ignore it.

She promised to take him fishing on my week day without first checking with me. After I said that I had plans with him on that day (during my time that the consent order we have in place says), she told me that I had to tell him that I'm cancelling his plans to go fishing. And yes, after researching about PAS, I know that's a classic start.

After I picked him up, he seemed normal. I always say "I love you" when I buckle him in before driving anywhere, even down the street. After we got home, he said he wanted to go back to his mom's, repeatedly. I asked why, and he said "Because and mommy said so". He still listened like he normally does, but this behaviour only started when I denied her request to take away all my time with him.

This morning, before I went to drop him off, he was back to normal: said "I love you" to me, cuddled with me before leaving, etc. I felt a bit better, but I still feel extremely powerless in dealing with this issue.

In my province, there is no law against a parent alienating the other parent to the child. Custody would not be granted on this basis alone. According to many experts, I should just leave it alone, and always tell him that I love him, and never bash his mom and step dad (which I never do anyways; I've heard too many stories of messed up minds in teens who believed this nonsense was about them). So my question is, with such a young child, what can I do to rectify the issue, and make sure he always knows I love him, no matter what anyone else says?


(I'm sorta new to this particular SE; if I tagged wrong, please fix)

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I feel this link is useful to add to this question as well: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parental_alienation_syndrome –  Erik May 21 at 17:30
    
@Erik I read the entire paper that most of that Wiki page was written about last night. It was quite a good read! –  Canadian Luke May 21 at 17:36
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@CanadianLuke The Wiki page also goes on to describe the scientific status of PAS as "critiqued as lacking a scientific basis, and as a hypothesis whose proponents have failed to meet the scientific burden of proof to merit acceptance". In scientific terms, people being jerks is not a "syndrome". –  Atsby May 21 at 21:43
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@atsby I agree, but that's the name of it –  Canadian Luke May 21 at 22:31
    
+1 this sounds like a really rough issue, and it's good you are working to examine it from all angles –  LitheOhm Aug 24 at 23:29

2 Answers 2

She promised to take him fishing on my week day without first checking with me. After I said that I had plans with him on that day (during my time that the consent order we have in place says), she told me that I had to tell him that I'm cancelling his plans to go fishing. And yes, after researching about PAS, I know that's a classic start.

Optimal play here would've been to say you think going fishing is a great idea and suggest that the three of you all go together. Then the ball would then be in the mother's court to cancel the plans to go fishing.

This morning, before I went to drop him off, he was back to normal: said "I love you" to me, cuddled with me before leaving, etc. I felt a bit better, but I still feel extremely powerless in dealing with this issue.

Well, regardless what the mother might be telling him or not, you have to realize it's a pretty new experience for the kid to be with just one parent. Also, the dynamic when there's only one adult with a child can be quite stilted. Do you have a new S.O. in your life? If not, maybe you should start dating.

what can I do to rectify the issue, and make sure he always knows I love him, no matter what anyone else says?

I'd suggest focusing less on the "I love you"s and more on being a fun dad who's moved on from his ex.

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I probably should have mentioned we've been broken up for 3 years now, the consent order in place for that long –  Canadian Luke May 24 at 15:04
    
+1 very touchy issue, but I do like the game theory approach in this answer. –  LitheOhm Aug 24 at 23:26

Unfortunately in this kind of battle, the mother will usually win. If you want to maintain a relationship with your little boy, you might simply have to work on being as nice as you can to his mum.

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