Divorce itself can be absolutely devastating, but nothing can prepare you for the domino effect it will have on the other areas of your life, especially when there are kids involved. Going from a supportive and loving partnership to operating as separate entities is confusing and can leave the child or children involved feeling as though they need to choose sides. This can present itself in the form of Parental Alienation. What is parental alienation?
Parental alienation occurs when one parent starts to consciously or unconsciously encourage the child to reject the other parent. The result of this is the child being reluctant to have a relationship with the parent, and ongoing hostility towards the rejected parent.
What is Parental Alienation?
According to Indianapolis parental alienation lawyer, Angela Trapp, “Parental alienation is not an isolated incident of one parent saying something inappropriate to the child about the other parent. Rather, it is a set of strategies that act to alienate the child from the other parent and lead to long-term consequences for the child.”
It is extremely important to quickly identify and learn what the symptoms of parental alienation are to avoid any long-term damage.
5 Signs of Parental Alienation to Look Out For:
1. Parent blaming for problems in the relationship.
2. Telling the child “everything” about what went wrong in the relationship.
3. Giving children choices when they have no choice about visits.
4. Parent acting sad/hurt about the child enjoying time with alienated parent.
5. Limiting communication and contact between the child and targeted parent.
The Effects of Parental Alienation on the Child
While many of the effects of parental alienation are almost immediate, there are negative impacts that can go undetected for years after the alienation occurred. According to a study by Clawar and Rivlin (2013), some of the harmful long term effects include:
• Sleep problems
• Poor body image
• Feelings of isolation
• Heightened fantasy life
• Lack of friends
• School dysfunction
• Memory loss
How to Stop Parental Alienation
Establishing a stable co-parenting strategy in the beginning stages of divorce is one of the best things parents can do to ensure things don’t get ugly later on. Unfortunately, that’s not always possible. If you find that you’re on the receiving end of the alienation, use these tips to put an end to this damaging behavior.
• Address the issue with the other parent in a neutral setting, such as with a therapist or your legal aide.
• Find an outside support system or group that deals with co-parenting challenges.
• Don’t use gifts or bribes to compete. Instead focus on your own parenting values.
• Look into family counseling.
Navigating the waters of divorce is tricky for anybody, but it is especially difficult when there are children involved. If you believe that you are a victim of parental alienation, it’s important to immediately take action in order to avoid any long-term damage to all of the parties involved. The most important thing is doing what’s best for the child now and in the future.
Jhana Guzman-Scholder is a freelance writer that works with Trapp Law, LLC. Angela Trapp is the Founding Attorney of the firm. Angela and her team believe in providing legal services that can be both high quality and affordable. From divorce to child custody, the team of family attorneys at Trapp Law, LLC have experience in handling even the most sensitive family matters. To learn more about Angela and Trapp Law, LLC, visit www.trapplegal.com.