Going through a divorce as a parent is rarely easy, but in some cases, things can get so ugly between the parents that one or both of them wind up trying to turn a shared child against the other in a process known as “parental alienation.” Parental alienation can take on any number of different forms, but at its core, it involves one parent taking actions in an attempt to make the shared child reject or turn against the other parent.
As you can imagine, parental alienation can have a substantial and negative impact on a child. Research indicates that this type of treatment is, in fact, a form of emotional abuse. It can have a serious influence on your child’s overall mental and emotional health. So, how might you be able to tell if your child’s other parent is trying to turn him or her against you?
Evidence of parental alienation
If you begin to notice that in your child’s eyes, the other parent can do no wrong, but everything you do raises his or her ire, this could potentially be a sign of parental alienation. Similarly, if your child seems to have little remorse for hurting your feelings, or if he or she consistently sides with the other parent, regardless of the circumstances, this may, too, indicate something is amiss.
In some cases, parental alienation may manifest when one parent encourages the shared child to avoid spending time with the other parent, or when one parent comes up with unwarranted reasons for a child to reject the other parent. Similarly, if the child tends to repeat disparaging words or phrases about you that you are fairly certain came from your former partner, this, too, may constitute parental alienation.
Marriages end for all kinds of reasons, and it makes sense that bad feelings may remain between the two divorcing parties. It is critical, however, that both parents prioritize the child’s well-being over their disdain for their former partner, however, or it will likely be the child who ultimately suffers the most.