Child custody disputes can quickly become heated, with each parent thinking that he or she knows what’s best for their child. Although many of these disputes can be resolved through effective negotiations, sometimes parents use tactics that are unfair and downright abusive in an attempt to achieve the outcome that they want. One of these strategies is parental alienation.
What is parental alienation?
Parental alienation is a manipulation tactic that is used to drive a wedge between one parent and his or her child. It often starts by one parent telling a child false information about the other parent, such as that the other parent doesn’t want to see the child or doesn’t love the child. But it can quickly progress to more severe forms of manipulation.
For example, a parent may schedule a fun night out during a time that the other parent is supposed to have visitation. The other parent is then put in a position where he or she either has to take the child away from that fun activity or give up parenting time. Both options are bad and trying to preserve the relationship with the child can end up just breeding resentment and anger.
But parental alienation can go even further than that. In some cases, alienating parents lead their young children to believe that they have been abused or neglected by the other parent. Since these children are young and don’t have memories of the alleged events, they tend to believe the alienating parent, which can warp their view of the other parent. This severe form of alienation can devastate the parent-child relationship.
What are the signs of parental alienation?
Parental alienation can present itself in a number of ways. Most commonly, children start criticizing the alienated parent without any viable justification. You may even find that your child’s criticism extends to other members of your family, too. The child will oftentimes show excessive amounts of support for the alienating parent, too. Another tell-tale sign of alienation is the use of language that is beyond the child’s development. This is evidence that the child is being told statements that he or she is then adopting as his or her own.
What can you do to stop parental alienation?
Although you can start by simply asking questions of your child and your child’s other parent, you’re probably going to have to go further than that. The good news is that family courts are becoming more educated about parental alienation, which means that judges are more receptive to arguments pertaining to it. Therefore, if you suspect that parental alienation is occurring, then you might want to consider filing something with the court seeking some sort of child custody or mental health evaluation. Speaking with friends, teachers, and others who have seen you interact with the child can go a long way, too, as this testimony can demonstrate that you in fact do have a bond with your child, which may be contrary to what the alienation depicts.
Competently navigate your child custody issues
Those who have been subjected to parental alienation can feel dejected and hopeless. We understand those feelings, but we also want you to remain optimistic. After all, there are legal maneuvers that you can navigate to try to preserve your relationship with your child. This oftentimes includes seeking some sort of child custody modification, which will require the acquisition and presentation of evidence. But a skilled family law team like ours stand ready to help you build the case that you and your child deserve.