After a divorce, custody issues are often the most difficult to navigate. While custody orders are developed to ensure both parents have healthy, loving relationships with their child, problems can still arise. In some cases, one parent may attempt to alienate their child from the other.
When you are the other parent, this experience can be devastating. Fortunately, understanding parent alienation and how it occurs can help you address the issue and prevent it from affecting your relationship with your child. Healthline explains what to look for, and how to deal with issues involving your former spouse.
What is parental alienation?
Parental alienation occurs when one parent attempts to influence the opinion of their child or children against the other. It often involves statements questioning or disputing that parent’s love for their child. As these criticisms continue, the child subject to the misinformation begins to believe what they are hearing. As a result, they may refuse to see the other parent, or deny a relationship with them.
How can I identify it?
Children who are being influenced express negative feelings about the other parent with no definable proof of their behavior. They often use language that seems inappropriate for a child, which signals they are mimicking things the alienating parent has said. However, children will defend what they are saying and passionately claim their ideas are their own. These ill-feelings can also involve the family of the parent being alienated.
What can I do about it?
You can address custody and visitation issues with the court, so they will be properly enforced. Counseling is also encouraged, as it can help mend your relationship with your child and prevent further alienation in the future. Every family is different, so your approach must be tailored to your specific needs and situation.