What Are the Warning Signs of Parental Alienation?
What is Parental Alienation?
Parental alienation occurs when one parent attempts to distance or cut off the relationship of their child or children with the other parent. This can either be a willful and malicious act or be part of an unhealthy coping mechanism related to a severe personality disorder. When successful, parental alienation is a serious form of emotional child abuse that has the power to destroy healthy family relationships.
Parents who attempt to alienate their children from their other parent typically exhibit some of the following characteristics:
- Bitterness or revengefulness
- Highly defensive and likely to project blame onto others
- Lacks insight into how their behaviors affect others
- Potentially dependent on their child
- Emotionally fragile
Watch for These Warning Signs of Parental Alienation
Parental alienation is a form of brainwashing that can result in a child not wanting to speak or associate with one of their parents. Once the alienation gets to this level, it is difficult to reverse and may have permanent effects. If you notice any of the following signs of hostility in your ex-spouse, you may have cause for concern that parental alienation is taking place:
- They regard themselves as the only “good” parent
- They teach their child that the other parent is unacceptable by magnifying their flaws
- They refer to the other parent using negative names
- They sabotage the visitation rights of the other parent using claims of illness, claims of separation anxiety, or excessive phone calls to prevent or limit the time the child spends with the other parent
- They withhold phone calls, mail, or gifts from the other parent
- They make false claims of abuse or neglect
- They destroy any tangible reminders of the other parent
- They employ manipulation, guilt, and/or fear to force the child to choose them over the other parent
Children may buy into this brainwashing because they feel the need to protect a depressed or needy parent, or because they want to avoid angering them. In any case, this puts the child in a harmful position that could end up doing them significant emotional or mental harm.
Children who have been successfully alienated may exhibit some of the following:
- They will speak negatively about the other parent and their extended family
- They may not want to see or speak to the other parent
- They may insist that the alienating parent has nothing to do with their attitude towards the other parent
- They may offer only weak or frivolous reasons for their feelings toward the other parent
- They may not feel any remorse for hurting the other parent’s feelings
- They are typically protective and supportive of the alienating parent
Helping Families in Los Angeles for Over 30 Years
Children should not have to suffer because of their parent’s problems, and should never have to take on the burden of emotionally supporting a parent. If you feel that your child may be a victim of parental alienation, it is important to speak with a Los Angeles divorce lawyer from Stolar & Associates, A Professional Law Corporation. We are available to listen to your questions and concerns during a consultation, and can offer you legal advice on how to handle this unfortunate issue. To learn more about how we can help, please call us today to schedule a consultation: 310-800-2132.