Is Parental Alienation Affecting Your Relationship with Your Kids?
If your spouse has made it difficult for you to see your children since your divorce, speaks negatively about you behind your back, or seems to be telling them what to say to a judge, it is possible that your child is suffering from parental alienation, a phenomenon described by child psychologists as having toxic effects on certain children of divorce or parental separation. Read on to learn more about parental alienation, and how to identify that it is occurring.
Parental Alienation Defined
Parental Alienation occurs when one parent wages a campaign against the child’s other parent in order to turn the child against the absent parent. Often, a child will be convinced by the alienating parent to reject the other parent, and to develop an unjustified, dehumanizing hatred toward that alienated parent. The child will frequently develop this hostility toward the disparaged parent as a way to avoid conflict with the alienating parent; by concluding that the other parent is a “monster,” not worthy of affection or a functional relationship, the child avoids feelings of “betraying” the alienating parent by being close to or affectionate toward the maligned parent. The alienated parent will find that their child is cold toward or uncomfortable around them, even cruel and disrespectful. The child may ardently defend the alienating parent, but justify their hatred toward the alienated parent with weak or nonsensical reasons.
Signs of Parental Alienation
Parental alienation isn’t just painful for the targeted parent; it can also result in life-long problems for the child, such as anxiety around relationships, depression, and poor self-esteem, on top of the harm of losing a loving relationship with the alienated parent. There are ways to identify when parental alienation is occurring, and good reason to bring it to the court’s attention if you believe it’s occurring. Be on the lookout for the following signs:
*Your child suddenly appears uncomfortable or hostile around you in new and unprovoked ways
*Your child no longer wishes to attend scheduled visitations with you
*When asked to testify before a judge or child protective services representative, the child appears to be speaking beyond their years, as though they are parroting back something that their other parent told them to say
Ensure that your relationship with your child survives a divorce or extended custody dispute by insisting that your parental rights are upheld. In central Virginia, contact the Bedford offices of the Pack Law Group to speak with an experienced family law attorney about your case, at 540-586-7225.