Parental Alienation Syndrome
Brainwashing & Making the Other Parent Look Bad
Divorce is between the two parents, but sometimes a parent will use divorce issues to drive a wedge between the other parent and the child in hopes of destroying the existing relationship between them. Restructuring a family always brings confusion, but healthy parents use their time to reassure their children, not alienate them from the other parent. If you are a mother or father and feel you have been the victim of parental alienation, we at Stolar Law Group can help.
Need help? Call (818) 600-6534 to schedule an initial evaluation.
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
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:
- Your child acts differently around one parent.
- Your child "protects" the alienating parent by being protective and supportive of them.
- Your child starts to really rebel against the visiting party and their family.
- You are being refused access to school or medical records and schedules.
- A parent is refusing to be flexible with the visitation schedule.
- 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.
Retain our firm's top-notch legal services in Beverly Hills to make sure your divorce is final and fair.
Most parents are concerned with the best interests of the child—and it is never in the child's best interests to denigrate the other parent. Unfortunately, parental alienation still happens. Being alienated from your parental role is slow and painful. Always keep aware and guard against the wedge, which can be so subtle that you never see it until it's too late.
If parental alienation is happening in your family, we can help you in the following ways:
- Has your ex made accusations of child brainwashing against you? Do you feel you are a victim of parental alienation syndrome? There are community education programs and seminars that can help you and your ex understand how to interact with your children.
- Your children need to know about the divorce and the fact that your family is changing. A child should not be used, however, as a confidant to air issues. We have some suggestions about what to tell the children, and we can refer you to appropriate resources.
- Custody evaluations are an important part of the custody decision process. Our attorneys can guide you through the process and help you prepare for the evaluation interviews.
We want to help you get through this period of time with as little pain as possible. Because our law firm is focused on family law, we have the experience to guide you to the right resources.
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