When a parent is prevented from having a relationship with their child, it can be devastating. Parental alienation happens when one parent manipulates the child’s relationship with the other parent, resulting in the child rejecting them. It can arise where there is a child custody arrangement in place.
Examples of parental alienation
Parental alienation can take many forms but may include speaking negatively about the other parent in front of the child, limiting the child’s contact with the other parent, or asking the child to take sides.
This behavior can damage the child’s relationship with both parents and can cause the child to suffer from emotional distress. There are several signs that may indicate parental alienation is occurring.
The child may show signs of anger or hostility without a reason, may make negative comments about the other parent, or may repeat the alienating parent’s words or actions. It’s not uncommon for a child affected by parental alienation to show disrespect to the other parent.
Addressing the situation
It’s helpful for the alienated parent to keep a record of any situations where the other parent tried to interfere with the relationship.
Even if the other parent is trying to limit communication with the alienated parent, the parent should try to continue to communicate with the child, even if that means it is in writing instead of in person.
The parent may want to consult with professionals who are familiar with parental alienation and its effect on children. They may be able to provide guidance about how to rebuild the relationship or whether the parents need to modify their child custody agreement.