Divorce and separation can sometimes turn ugly. When this happens, one or both parents can take to manipulation and bad-mouthing with the goal of turning the children into weapons against their ex. This is known as parental alienation.
First described in the 1980s, parental alienation is a situation where one parent creates a constant campaign against the other parent by deliberately and incorrectly making the kids believe that the other parent is unloving, mean, uncaring, cruel and thus not worthy of being involved in their lives. The alienating parent’s goal is to get the kids to reject the other parent.
How can you tell when the other parent is trying to engage in alienation?
Besides the outright rejection by the child, here are some of the common parental alienation signs that you may want to be on the lookout for:
- The child is routinely making negative comments about the alienated parent
- The child is consistently taking sides with the alienating parent in any disagreement
- The child cannot provide any proof of the negative opinion they have about the alienated parent
- The child strongly believes one parent is good while the other is bad
What can you do about parental alienation?
There are a number of things you can do to protect your parenting rights if you believe the other parent is trying to alienate you from your children. First, you need to understand that the behaviors your child is exhibiting are not their fault. As such, do not be angry or upset with the child. Instead, as tough as it may be, it is important that you continue treating your child in a loving, kind and considerate manner.
Next, keep a journal of everything that is happening. Write down everything the child says or does to you. If they call you names, abuse or make disparaging remarks, be sure to keep a record of it. You will need this should the matter end in court.
Parental alienation can be painful to deal with. However, there is hope. If you are in a situation where your own kids have turned against you, it is important that you seek professional help to address the issue and restore a sound and healthy relationship with your children.