Parental alienation refers to the deliberate efforts made by one parent to turn their children against the other parent. Child psychiatrist Dr. Richard A. Gardner coined the term “parental alienation syndrome” in the 1980s, assigning it to parents with narcissistic and manipulative tendencies. A mother or father engaging in parental alienation will paint a negative picture of the other parent in an attempt to ruin their relationship with the couple’s children. At its core, parental alienation is a form of abuse, a way to emotionally manipulate children into destroying their relationship with a parent.
Whether you and the other parent of your child are living together or are separated, any feelings of resentment or anger can turn into parental alienation. Our Yonkers family law attorney has noticed that offenders are generally bitter and selfish, lashing out at their partner or ex-partner and psychologically harming their children in the process. If you are experiencing this type of abuse, do not hesitate to contact our office for help. We will meet with you free of charge to evaluate the specific circumstances of your case and determine how we can best be of service.
The Warning Signs
Parental alienation reveals itself in a variety of ways. Depending on the circumstances – such as the status of the parents’ relationship, the details of the custody arrangement, and the age of the children – parental alienation may be carried out in different ways that could affect the child’s behavior.
Be on the lookout for warning signs such as:
- Disproportionate anger towards you: During and after a divorce, it is normal for children to be emotional and even upset with their parents. However, a disproportionate amount of blame or anger towards one parent in particular could be an indication of parental alienation.
- Giving children choices regarding visitation: The visitation schedule you and your partner agreed on or were assigned by the court cannot be negotiated by a minor child. The other parent could be alienating you by giving your children the option to not follow the visitation schedule.
- Undermining your authority: If you notice comments from your child like “But Dad lets me stay up late and watch TV” or “Mom said it was ok if I ate candy before dinner,” the other parent may be trying to undermine your authority.
- Lack of communication: No matter how each parent feels about the other, it is important to remain communicative and keep each other informed about the happenings in your child’s life. One parent consistently “forgetting” to tell the other about dance recitals, doctor’s appointments, and other important events could be a sign of parental alienation.
- Requests from children to avoid inclusion: If your child has outwardly requested that you do not take part in his or her life in some way – for example, asking you not to come to baseball games or school plays – this could indicate that the other parent is manipulating the child.
- The child expresses that the alienation was his/her idea: If you confront your child about their alienating behavior and they assume responsibility, it is likely that they have been manipulated into admitting fault. In these situations, there is often some psychological abuse and manipulation on the other parent’s part.
Call a Lawyer for Help
If you have reason to believe that the other parent is acting manipulatively and affecting your relationship with your child, you may have legal recourse. We encourage you to speak with our Yonkers family lawyer at Family First Legal Group With our help, you may be able to put a stop to the alienation.
Reach out to us at (914) 752-5333, or contact us online by clicking here.