What Does ‘Parental Alienation’ Mean?
Getting a divorce is always difficult, but it is a challenge that is made even more emotional if you have children. It is possible for the couple to experience such extreme conflict that the negative emotions start to manifest themselves in various interactions with their children. For example, a crying Parent B may make a passing comment that they are just so distraught because of Parent A’s behavior. While some emotions are expected, and maybe even appropriate, the resulting parental alienation can be a serious problem.
What is Parental Alienation?
As explained by Psychology Today, parental alienation occurs when a child begins to have very bad feelings about one parent — perhaps even refusing to have a relationship with that parent — due to manipulation at the hands of the other parent. Examples of parental alienation might include one parent telling the child that the other parent does not love them or want to talk to them; a parent excessively bad-mouthing the other; telling lies about the other parent, often about abuse or adultery; or blaming the other parent for the collapse of the marriage.
Signs of Parental Alienation
Divorce is not just emotional for parents, but for their children, too. As such, it may not be easy to initially recognize the signs of parental alienation in a child; their withdrawal may feel natural based on all that is happening. Some signs of parental alienation to look out for include:
- A child continuously and unfairly criticizing one parent;
- The child mistreating the alienated parent, and not feeling guilty about it;
- The child refusing to see or talk to the alienated parent; or
- The child seems to be using terms and language that is borrowed from an adult, rather than being original to the child based on their age and speech patterns.
What to do if You are a Victim of Parental Alienation
Being a victim of parental alienation is not just frustrating and anger-inducing; it is heartbreaking.
If you are a victim of parental alienation, maintaining your composure is important. Try talking to your child and your ex; if there is no progress, you should consider working with a therapist or psychiatrist who can guide you.
If the alienation is severely affecting your relationship with your child, you may consider involving a family law attorney who can bring your case before a family law judge. A judge would be able to modify your custody order to prevent the alienation from continuing.
Call Judy Oxford, Attorney at Law, Today
As a family law lawyer with more than 30 years of experience practicing law, I have seen parental alienation and its devastating effects on more than one occasion. If you are a victim of parental alienation, it may be worth involving a family law attorney who can advise you of your legal rights.
To schedule an initial consultation with me, please use the phone number found on my website to call my office directly, or you can send me a message using the intake form found on my contact page. I will aggressively advocate for your interests and the best interests of your children.