What is Parental Alienation?
In an ideal world, couples who realize their marriages cannot be saved would divorce amicably, working together to develop timesharing arrangements that allow them both to maintain quality relationships with their children and continue to co-parent effectively in the years that follow. But we do not live in an ideal world, we live in a reality where hostility, resentment, and aggression often accompany divorces. In many cases, parents allow these emotions to impact their relationships with their children, sometimes driving them to attempt to “buy” their children’s love through affection, gifts, and other manipulative behavior. When this type of behavior is used to slander a child’s other parent and destroy his or her relationship with that parent, it is considered to be an act of parental alienation.
When Parental Alienation Occurs, The Child Suffers
Parental alienation is the systematic destruction of a child’s relationship with a parent or another relative. Through it, the child is trained to disrespect, reject, and even hate the target of the alienation. A few ways parents do this include:
- Blaming the other parent for financial difficulty or other problems;
- Telling the child that the other parent does not love him or her or does not want to spend time with him or her;
- Failing to correct the child when he or she says or does something cruel or disrespectful toward the other parent; and
- Intercepting any attempted communication from the other parent, allowing the child to feel that his or her parent does not want to speak with him or her.
The effects of parental alienation can follow a child into adulthood.
What Can I Do if I am a Victim of Parental Alienation?
Parental alienation is not always done intentionally. Sometimes, it is committed through subtle gestures and words, often because the parent committing it feels resentful or is suffering emotionally or financially following his or her divorce. No matter why it happens, it should never be accepted. If you feel your former partner is attempting to alienate you from your child, he or she is the first person you should speak with about the issue. Express your concern and discuss productive ways to talk about each other to your child. This could be all your former partner needs to realize his or her mistake.
If your former partner continues to trample on your relationship with your child, you need to take action to make it stop. Talk to your lawyer about taking legal action to alter your time sharing schedule. Your child’s time sharing schedule is created to nurture his or her emotional and psychological well being as well as meet his or her physical needs, and if your child is being manipulated into not wanting a relationship with you, he or she is not in a psychologically healthy household. Consider seeking counseling for your child to discuss the alienation. Family therapy might also be an option to consider.
Work with an Experienced Winter Park Family Attorney
The Law Offices of Aubrey Harry Ducker, Jr., PLLC is a proud member of the Parental Alienation Awareness Organization. Parental alienation is a real issue that affects thousands of American families. If you are experiencing parental alienation or if you are not sure if your experience may be considered to be parental alienation, set up your legal consultation with Mr. Ducker to discuss it. Parental alienation should never be acceptable and if you are facing it from your former partner, an experienced family attorney can be your ally.