Children with Narcissistic Parental Alienation Syndrome

The Narcissistic Parental Alienation Syndrome (NPAS) is a disorder that is marked by a pattern of behavior that manifests when one parent, usually the narcissistic parent, tries to turn their children against the other parent. The psychological manipulation and emotional abuse that the narcissistic parent inflicts on their children can be devastating and long-lasting. Children who are subjected to this type of behavior may develop the NPAS.

The Symptoms of NPAS

The symptoms of NPAS in children may vary, but some of the most common ones include:

  • Refusal or reluctance to see or spend time with the other parent without any valid reason
  • Cruel behavior towards the other parent across different social media platforms
  • Showing unwarranted anger or hatred towards the other parent
  • Misrepresenting or lying to the other parent about events or situations
  • Rejecting gifts or other forms of kindness from the other parent
  • Sharing confidential information about the other parent with outsiders or social media platforms

The effects of NPAS on children can be devastating, affecting various aspects of their lives, including emotional, mental, and physical well-being. For instance, children with NPAS may become depressed, anxious, and may experience high levels of stress. They may also have difficulty concentrating, sleeping, or eating appropriately.

The Causes of NPAS

NPAS usually occurs in families where one parent, the narcissistic parent, has a personality disorder that may include traits such as grandiosity, lack of empathy, and manipulative behavior. Such parents often have an exaggerated sense of self-importance and value their opinions above others. These parents may also be controlling and may use their power to interfere with the children’s relationship with the other parent

NPAS usually sets in when the narcissistic parent feels threatened by the other parent, often during a divorce or separation process. During this period, the narcissistic parent may seek to alienate the children from the other parent to gain a sense of control over the situation. The narcissistic parent may belittle or criticize the other parent to the children or insist on speaking negatively about the other parent in front of the children. Over time, the children may internalize these negative opinions, leading to the development of NPAS.

The Treatment of NPAS

NPAS can be challenging to treat, given the deep psychological trauma that children may have experienced. Treatment for NPAS may involve a combination of approaches, including counseling, therapy, and family mediation. During counseling, the therapist may help children identify the negative behavior and help them develop strategies to manage their emotions and interactions with both parents.

The therapist may also seek to address any underlying mental health conditions, such as depression or anxiety, which may have developed as a result of the abuse. Family mediation may also be necessary to help the family develop healthier relationships and improve communication.

Preventing NPAS

Prevention of NPAS may be challenging, given the power differential between narcissistic and non-narcissistic parents. However, some steps can be taken to reduce the risk of NPAS, including:

  • Establishing clear boundaries on communication and expectations between the two parents
  • Having the divorce or separation proceedings revolve around the needs of the children rather than the parents
  • Involving mental health professionals in the divorce or separation process to minimize conflict between the parents, and reduce the risk of abuse of the children
  • Developing a shared parenting plan to ensure that both parents can participate in the children’s lives


NPAS is a severe disorder that can have a devastating impact on children’s lives. The condition can occur when one parent, often a narcissistic parent, tries to manipulate and emotionally abuse their children to turn them against the other parent. The effects of NPAS on children can be long-lasting, affecting their emotional, mental, and physical wellbeing.

Treatment of NPAS is challenging, but a combination of counseling, therapy, and family mediation can help children overcome the negative experiences they have had. Preventing NPAS can be challenging, but taking steps such as establishing clear boundaries and involving mental health professionals in divorce or separation proceedings can reduce the risk of NPAS.


FAQs about Children with Narcissistic Parental Alienation Syndrome

What is Narcissistic Parental Alienation Syndrome?

Narcissistic Parental Alienation Syndrome or NPAS is a form of emotional abuse that occurs when one parent – usually the narcissistic parent – manipulates and brainwashes the child against the other parent. The child thus becomes alienated from the target parent and suffers from emotional and psychological harm.

What are the effects of NPAS on children?

Children who are victims of NPAS often struggle with low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, and a host of other psychological and emotional issues. They may also develop a warped sense of reality and a tendency towards manipulative behaviors. In severe cases, the alienated child may even become estranged from the target parent, leading to a breakdown in the relationship for years to come.

What can be done to protect children from NPAS?

If you suspect that your child is the victim of NPAS, it is important to seek professional help immediately. A qualified therapist can help your child overcome the trauma of alienation and learn to view both parents in a healthier and more positive light. You can also consider taking legal action against the narcissistic parent to ensure that your child’s best interests are protected.


1. Bernet, W., & Drucker, P. (2015). Parental alienation syndrome: A review of critical issues. Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law Online, 43(1), 98-107. (Bernet & Drucker, 2015)

2. Craig, C. D., & Kidson, L. (2017). Parental alienation syndrome: An age-old child custody problem. Journal of Forensic Psychology Research and Practice, 17(1), 1-7. (Craig & Kidson, 2017)

3. Gardner, R. A. (2013). Differentiating between parental alienation syndrome and bona fide abuse/neglect. American Journal of Family Therapy, 41(2), 109-127. (Gardner, 2013)