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What is parental alienation, and what are signs?

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What is parental alienation, and what are signs?

On Behalf of | May 13, 2021 | family law |

It’s rare for a breakup to be completely amicable. Many factors determine how friendly you’ll be with one another once you divorce. Custody issues, in particular, can turn an amicable relationship between you and your ex into a contentious one pretty fast. 

You shouldn’t let your frustrations with your co-parent get to you and engage in parental alienation. You could lose custody if you do. You’ll want to look for certain signs when determining whether your co-parent may be subjecting your child to it. 

What constitutes parental alienation?

Parental alienation is when one parent purposely attempts to turn their children against the other parent. A parent may falsely accuse their co-parent of child abuse or domestic violence, for example, Or, a parent may tell their child negative things about their co-parent. For example, one parent may say things like, “We can’t afford that game you want because your greedy father won’t pay enough support,” or “Your selfish mother broke up the family because she doesn’t care about you.” 

Any treatment that has the potential to cause a child to distance themselves from their other parent may constitute parental alienation. 

What are the signs of parental alienation?

There are a few early signs that you should look for if you suspect that your co-parent may be subjecting your child to parental alienation. These include:

  • Your child begins having behavioral problems in school.
  • Your son or daughter starts distancing oneself from you.
  • Your child starts expressing a strong dislike for spending time with you.

Counseling is often key to verifying parental alienation allegations. Therapeutic modalities like play therapy often make children comfortable enough to reveal that one parent’s comments have shifted their perspective of their other mom or dad. 

Verified parental alienation allegations may warrant a child custody modification

A parent’s engagement in parental alienation isn’t only destructive to their co-parenting relationship but can also be detrimental to their child’s development. You may want to speak with an attorney about your options for expanding your custodial rights if you can prove that your ex has engaged in parental alienation. Getting your child out of such an environment may be what’s best for them.