If you’re reading this blog post, then you know that child custody disputes can quickly become heated. The lashing out and the harsh exchanging of words can be harmful to you, your child’s other parent, and, more importantly, your child. But sometimes antagonistic parents go a step further and engage in active manipulation of their child with the sole purpose of driving a wedge between the child and his or her other parent. This is parental alienation.
How parental alienation occurs
Although every parental alienation case is different, there are some commonly seen techniques utilized by manipulative parents. For example, providing intimate details about a marriage’s failings is common, as it warps the child’s perception of his or her other parent, giving the impression that that parent is responsible for a broken family. Another tactic is limiting or entirely cutting off contact, then blaming that lack of contact on the other parent. In many instances, the alienated parent is kept in the dark about the child’s academic and medical condition, too, and he or she may not be told about the child’s extracurricular activities.
As damaging as these efforts can be, they are not the most severe forms of parental alienation. In some cases, alienated parents are put in impossible positions where they either have to give up time with their children to be seen as a “good” parent or be seen as a “bad” parent by enforcing parenting time arrangements in a way that require the child to miss certain activities planned by the alienating parent. Children are even sometimes led to falsely believe that they’ve been subjected to abuse at the hands of the alienated parent.
What can you do about parental alienation?
Although it may seem impossible to overcome parental alienation, there are steps that you can take to determine the cause of your child’s negative reaction to you and put it to a stop. This may involve direct questioning of the child and your child’s other parent, but it might also require some sort of mental health assessment. The latter may require a court order, but the results of one of these assessments, in conjunction with other evidence demonstrating that you had a strong bond with your child, can go a long way toward a child custody modification and rebuilding your relationship with your child.
We know these are difficult issues to face. But you don’t have to face them alone. Firms like ours stand ready to help you fight for the outcome that is right for you and your child. So, carefully think about how you want to address the matter and reach out for the assistance that you think that you need.