Parental alienation is a term that refers to when one parent negatively affects their child’s relationship with their other parent. By alienating the child, they may encourage them to avoid the other parent as a sort of punishment.
This is a manipulative tactic that is often used by hostile parents. It’s more likely in situations where custody discussions were contentious and when there was a significant dispute between the parents. Severe cases aren’t common, but milder cases may occur more frequently.
Understanding parental alienation
Parental alienation is also known as hostile aggressive parenting. This is a kind of act that encourages alienation between the child and their other parent following a separation or divorce. It’s important to note that not all cases are severe, and some may actually be accidental. For example, if a mother makes a comment that the other parent is a cheater, their child may repeat that and say they don’t like the other parent because of it. This is a simple example of how what a parent says or does might impact their children’s perspectives.
When a child deals with regular manipulation from one parent, they may develop parental alienation syndrome. This may be apparent if the child suddenly is preoccupied with criticizing one parent or exaggerating their hatred of them. This is damaging to a child and to their relationship with the target parent.
What can you do if you see signs of alienation in your child’s behavior?
Parental alienation, and the acts that lead to it, are frowned upon by the courts. If you have evidence that the other parent is saying negative things about you or that your child is being told not to speak with you in exchange for treats or other benefits, you need to learn more about your legal rights as soon as possible and take action to change your custody arrangements. It may be necessary to work with professionals like child psychologists or the court to get your child back into a situation where they are not being manipulated and are safe to develop healthy relationships with those who care about them.