After a divorce a child may have to live with both parents in different homes with new lifestyles. Unfortunately for everyone, a divorce changes life drastically and people take time to reflect on all that has occurred.
Alienation is when one parent is isolating a child from the other parent. This can be intentionally done or it could be accidental, but either way it hurts the child and the other parent involved.
There are some warning signs of parental alienation. A common sign of parental alienation is disparagement, which means one parent making negative comments about the other parent. It can come in many forms, including parent to child comments, allowing others to make negative comments about the other parent in a child’s presence, and/or telling a child about the arguments, legal issues, court dates, and settlement discussions.
Another sign is the child undermining the authority of the other parent, meaning they stop listening and obeying the other parent’s instructions while they continue to listen to the parent who is causing the alienation. Usually one parent influences the child to believe that they do not have to listen to the other parent and that what they want them to do is wrong.
If your child starts feeling like the need to make decisions that they are not mature enough to make, such as which parent they want to stay with or what time they should go to bed, this may be another sign of parental alienation. Another sign may be if your child starts calling someone who is not their parent “mom” or “dad”. This happens when the other parent encourages their child to call their new spouse, friend, or an adult figure by those names and to no longer call their actual parents by those names.
If you think you are seeing signs of parental alienation, you can talk to your child and your ex-spouse. You should also seek legal assistance. This is a serious issue that can escalate quickly and leave you isolated from your child indefinitely.
Hire a family law lawyer who has experience with cases similar to yours so that they know how assist you. Talk to your lawyer about how to handle the situation and the next steps to take. Talk to your lawyer about what is appropriate to do or say around the children such as not speaking ill about each other in front of the children. Encourage the children to ask a parent to stop it if he or she is saying something inappropriate. You may wish to sign your children up for counselling to help them through this difficult time.
Parental Alienation only gets worse with time if nothing is done about it, so it is important to see a lawyer right away if you suspect that your child is being alienated.