Understanding Parent Alienation and Divorce
In an ideal situation, parents work together to raise their children in a loving and supportive household so that they can lead healthy and happy lives and reach their full potential. Unfortunately, this isn’t always possible. If parents are unable to carry on a loving marital relationship, they may decide to divorce rather than subject themselves and children to an unhappy situation.
This doesn’t mean they can’t find positive ways to co-parent in the wake of divorce so that children still have fulfilling relationships with both of their parents. However, it does require both parents to work together and get along for the sake of their kids, and this isn’t always possible.
In some cases, one or both parents are extremely selfish and vindictive, and they allow their personal grievances to dictate their behavior. In such cases, one or both may involve children in their adult disputes by telling kids the perceived wrongs of the other parent and trying to influence relationships between children and the ex-spouse in a negative way.
This is known as parent alienation, and it can be extremely harmful to children. It certainly isn’t in their best interest to poison them against one parent and force them to choose sides. It is possible that a parent too wrapped up in his/her own emotions may feel justified in doing this, or not even realize when they’re behaving badly. How can you recognize when this occurs and what can you do about it?
What is Parent Alienation?
Parent alienation occurs when one parent in a divorce tries to turn children against the other parent emotionally by sharing accusations, blame, and details about the other parent (either true or false) that children should not be privy to, as well as saying generally negative things about the other parent. The result is a situation in which children grow to dislike and distrust the other parent and begin to feel like they have been wronged in the same way the favored parent has.
A parent who engages in this type of behavior may have all kinds of excuses for doing so, often centering on the belief that they alone are fit to raise kids, while the other parent is not. The offending parent may treat children as adults or equals, blurring accepted boundaries for parent/child relationships. He/she may break co-parenting agreements, level unfounded accusations of inappropriate behavior or child abuse against the other parent, and blame every problem (with marriage and kids) on the other parent.
What Can You Do About It?
If you think your ex-spouse is engaging in parent alienation behavior, effectively attempting to discredit you as a parent, turn your kids against you, and minimize your parenting time, you can file a motion with the court to prohibit such behavior. It’s also wise to hire a lawyer to help you explore your options, as well as consider working with a child psychologist to help children understand the situation and deal with their feelings about it.
Don’t let an angry ex-spouse engage in parental alienation, to the detriment of your relationship with your children and their mental and emotional well-being. Contact the qualified professionals at The Gucciardo Law Firm today at 248-723-5190 for legal help.
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