Parental alienation syndrome (PAS) is a term minted by the late Richard A. Gardner in the early 1980s referring to what he claims is a disorder.
In PAS a child belittles and insults one parent without justification because he or she has been indoctrinated by the other parent (usually as part of a child custody dispute). Gardner introduced the term in a 1985 paper, describing a cluster of symptoms he had observed during the early 1980s.
Neither the medical or legal communities recognize PAS as a disorder, and legal and mental health scholars have extensively criticized Gardner’s work for lacking scientific validity and reliability . However, the separate but related concept of parental alienation, the estrangement of a child from a parent, is recognized as a dynamic in some divorcing families.