What is parental alienation and what can I do about it?

On Behalf of | Feb 8, 2021 | Child Custody |

It’s no secret that child custody disputes can be extremely contentious. In many instances, parents end up viciously attacking each other in court in hopes of showing that the other parent is unfit. While you might have some of your own arguments here, such as the other parent’s substance abuse, mental health, or domestic violence issues, you have to be prepared to counter whatever mud is thrown your way. Some of this will be easy to do, but in some circumstances parental alienation might make it much harder.

What is parental alienation?

In short, parental alienation is the process whereby one parent programs their child to distance themselves from their other parent. Some people refer to this as brainwashing. Parents who engage in alienation do so in a number of ways. They oftentimes feed false statements to the child in question, thereby making him or her believe bad things about his or her other parent. Some of these statements might be relatively minor, while others are so severe as to leave the child believing that the other parent has abused him or her in the past.

There are many signs of parental alienation. Amongst them are that the child holds a false belief without any evidence or sound reasoning, the child continuously and unfairly criticizes the other parent, and the child has unflappable support for the parent who has engaged in the alienating behavior. In many instances, children who have been manipulated will also use terms and phrases that don’t seem like their own.

What to do about parental alienation

Parental alienation is a topic that could dominate this blog for many posts, but if you suspect that your child is being alienated from you, then you need to take action now. If your child is being withheld from you, suddenly keeping secrets from you, and has abruptly changed attitudes toward you, then you might want to consider investigating the matter more fully and taking the steps that are necessary to seek a child custody modification. To learn more about what you can do in these situations, consider reaching out to an experienced family law attorney.