Parental alienation happens when one parent deliberately attempts to create emotional and physical distance between the other parent and the child with the purpose of destroying the parental bond.
Perpetrators of parental alienation may have various motivations for their actions including anger, revenge or fear around the separation and divorce process.
Indicators of parental manipulation
In many cases, alienation develops over time and can be difficult to discover before lasting damage occurs to relationships. Some of the common signs include:
- Sharing age-inappropriate divorce details with the minor child
- Speaking harshly of the other parent directly to the child
- Venting or criticizing the other parent to others within earshot of the child
- Using negative body language when talking to the child about the other parent
- Refusing to participate in a co-parenting plan that supports equal bonding time
- Making false allegations of physical, emotional or sexual abuse against the other parent
Effects of parental alienation on children
Exes who are unable to resolve their conflicts and become effective co-parents cause tremendous harm to their children. In addition to the normal stress and anxiety of dealing with the changes caused by the divorce, victims of parental alienation suffer lifelong mental and emotional pain. The youngest family members are often desperate for peace but powerless to end the fighting.
Your divorce may not be amicable, but your children should never know it. It is imperative that you and your ex prioritize their needs so they can grow up in secure, healthy homes with loving and supportive parents.