How to Spot Signs of Parental Alienation

October 21, 2020 Blog No Comments »

Parental alienation is a phenomenon that can happen in divorced or separated families in which one parent turns a child against or away from the other parent. Not only does this result in a toxic environment, but it is mentally and emotionally unhealthy for the children involved. Parental alienation can be overt and obvious – such as throwing away cards and gifts from the other parent, but it can also be very subtle such as making the child feel guilty for spending too much time with the other parent.

Why is parental alienation so serious?

Parental alienation should not be taken lightly. Experts in child psychology as well as legal professionals agree that children should have access to both parents provided that neither one of them exhibit abusive or neglectful behaviours. Children should never be denied access to loving parents.

Sadly, however, it sometimes happens that in contentious divorces and separations, one parent wishes to hurt the other parent so badly that they can end up hurting the children in the process.

Parental alienation can do more than turn a child against their parent. It can also lead to the child acting out in school, alienating themselves from society, and even growing up to lack empathy and remorse.

What are the signs of parental alienation?

Some of the warning signs include:

  • When your ex openly talks (or posts on social media) detailed reasons for your divorce – the details of your divorce aren’t something that should be shared with children and yet sometimes, one partner feels it necessary to freely share information about the other that can give the children a negative image of that parent.
  • False allegations – Sometimes one former partner may make serious false allegations against the other in order to turn the child against them.
  • Negative expressions or body language toward you. If your former partner makes negative expressions or body language toward you in front of your child they may be subtly influencing the child to “pick a side”.
  • Your child is angry with you. If you find that your children are suddenly more argumentative or combative when they were not so before, it could be a result of the other parent bad-mouthing you behind your back.
  • Your child feels guilty when spending time with you. When children feel bad for spending time with you and leaving the other parent out, it could be a sign that parental alienation is taking place.

What action can you take against parental alienation?

Unfortunately, there is no specific law against parental alienation that allows you to threaten legal action. One of the best things that you can do is to spend quality time with your children and pay close attention to their words and body language.

If you can speak with your ex, try to make them understand that spewing out negative talk about you in front of the children is not good for their mental health. Do not underestimate how helpful it may be to bring in a family mediator or therapist to help with this.

Contact Marcy Segal today

Remember that although there are often bad feelings between ex-spouses when there is a separation or divorce, the weight of such feelings should not be put on the shoulders of the children.

If you need legal help in navigating a divorce, we can help. Contact Marcy Segal today to arrange for a consultation.

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