Parental alienation commonly occurs following the separation or divorce. The resident parent may knowingly or unknowingly cause a relationship distance between the child and the non-resident parent and this is something that needs to be prevented. It is when a child’s resistance or hostility towards one a mother or a father is not justified and is the result of psychological manipulation by the other side.
How does parental alienation begin?
Parental alienation often commences when one parent begins blaming the other one for their separation. This can trigger the alienation intentionally or unintentionally through some of the following actions:
- Constantly badmouthing the other parent in front of the child
- Using guilt to make a child feel bad about caring for the other parent
- Requesting a child to take sides
- Blaming the other side for their separation
- Slowing the child to talk negatively about their mother or father
- Making other arrangements for the child which would interfere with the contact times
- Giving the child the power to decide whether they want to spend time with the former spouse instead of promoting contact
- Conveying messages to your ex through the child
- Sharing details of the divorce or separation with the child
- Asking the child to lie to the other parent or hurt their trust
Parental alienation is viewed as a form of child abuse that could have severe emotional implications on the child. Quite often the following symptoms of parental alienation may be noted in a child:
- Loss of self-confidence and low self-esteem
- Developing fears and phobias
- Sleeping and eating disorders
- Educational problems
- Drug and alcohol abuse
- Anxiety and panic attacks and
- Poor relationships with people around them including family and friends.
If you feel your child is being alienated from you, you must take urgent steps to ensure this alienation does not cause more harm to your children and to stop the harmful manipulation your child is enduring.
Family solicitors at Kabir Family Law have noted the following tips to help you challenge and combat parental alienation:
You may be upset and angry about your child not wanting to maintain any contact with you, however, you must stay positive when around your children. You should avoid speaking negative about the other parent as this could result in further damage as your children may believe the other parent was telling the truth about you. Maintain your cool with your children and do not blame them for not maintaining contact with you.
Trying maintaining contact with your children
It maybe difficult to maintain physical contact with your child where they have been manipulated and have expressed their feelings of not wanting to see you. Despite this, you should attempt to see your child whenever possible. You should also attempt to stay int ouch with them through other forms of communication such as social media, emails, text messages, telephone calls and even letters. By staying in touch with them you may be able to remind them as to how much love you have for them.
Do not act defensively when meeting your children
Our family lawyers have noted that parents who are being alienated will often feel the need to get defensive or explain themselves to the children. Is important that you remain calm and be yourself when with your children. Acting defensively may lead your children to believe that you are wrong and are hence looking to explain your mistakes.
Encourage your child to speak to you directly
Quite often the child who is being alienated will only listen to one side of the story and will be led to believe what they hear. In order to prevent parental alienation, you must encourage your child to openly speak to you regarding any issues. You could ask your client to speak to you regarding any questions the have about anything they’ve heard about you or anything they believe about you which may worry them. This could go a long way in combatting any parental alienation you may face or are facing.
Consider family therapy
Mediation or family therapy can go a long way in trying to challenge and this type of alienation. It is a method which allows the family to voice their concerns and helpt to resolve any grievances. Trained family therapists can assist the family in working through the problems and develop a healthy co-parenting relationship. Although the alienating person may not want to consider this it should be considered. Getting assistance early could prevent the manipulation of a child and can prevent them from suffering emotional effects that could affect them and the relationship in the long term. Seeking assistance from a therapist could also provide additional support if the alienation does not stop and the case is required to go to court. You would be able to show you have taken positive steps to improve the situation which will strengthen your case.
Be Patient with your approach
A person who is experiencing alienation may be finding it difficult to rebuild their relationship with their children. Alienated parents must understand that it could take a long time before their efforts pay off depending on the symptoms caused through this and how long this has been going on since. Parents should focus on their intention to build a strong relationship with their children and avoid being worried about the outcome. Patience together with a persistent approach in trying to establish contact with alienated children can lead to achieving a desired outcome.
Keep a note of key events
Parents should consider noting down details of when the resident parent refused contact with the child, the reasons for refusal of contact and how frequent such refusals are. It is also important to keep a note of anything the children express which could be used as further evidence.
They should also request to see their child in writing via text message or email. This could be evidence to illustrate to the court the failed attempts and could be used to show the court of the excuses the other person Fuses for refusing contact. This evidence could again strengthen your case if the matter proceeds to a court hearing.
Consider legal advice
Family lawyers are often experienced in dealing with parental alienation cases. Therefore, if you are experiencing this, there’s a good reason to contact family lawyers and consult with them about your future steps.