Divorce can be a difficult life experience for anybody, but it can get even harder when children are involved. Amidst the emotional turmoil that comes with divorce, it is not uncommon for one spouse to try to “win over” the children to their side instead of focusing on the children’s best interests.
Sometimes that kind of psychological manipulation rises to the level of true parental alienation.
Understanding the signs of parental alienation
Parental alienation may manifest in a variety of ways, but the end game is usually the same: making the child believe one parent is bad while the other is good, thereby severing the parent-child bond. Here are some signs to look out for if you suspect that your ex is alienating you from your child:
- Using the child to collect intel from you
- Not honoring parenting-time agreements
- When the child no longer wants to be with you
- When the child seems to know age-inappropriate details about the divorce
- Baseless motions for protection
Parental alienation has both short and long-term effects on children which is why the courts takes this kind of manipulation and emotional abuse seriously.
Two steps to take if your ex is alienating you from your child
Protect your child. Keep in mind that your child is as much as a victim of the parental alienation as you are. If the other parent is feeding the child negative information about you, make an effort to reaffirm your unconditional love for them. Do not seize the moment to counter your ex by feeding them with your own dose of negativity.
Keep good records. It might not make much sense at first, but documenting specific incidents of parental alienation can be extremely crucial should the matter end up in court. One of the grounds upon which the court can modify custody is parental alienation. To have your way, however, you must prove that the other parent was actually practicing it. And that’s where documentation comes in.
Asserting your rights
Raising your child should be one of the most exciting and joyous times for any parent. If your ex is standing in your way by alienating you from your child, don’t lash out in anger. It will only exacerbate an already emotionally charged situation. Instead, seek legal counsel to assert properly your parental rights.