What Is Parental Alienation?

Parental alienation occurs when your ex systematically turns your child against you until the relationship between you and your child deteriorates enormously or entirely. There are many different methods that your ex may use to accomplish this, including:

  • Outwardly blaming you for the divorce or other problems in front of your child.

  • Badmouthing or being overly critical of you in front of your child.

  • Using your child to spy on your activities and encouraging the child to break your trust.

  • Interfering with a previously agreed-upon visitation schedule by giving your child the option not to visit you or by refusing to agree to a reasonable change in the visitation schedule.

  • Claiming that you physically or mentally abused your ex or your child in some way, even if it is blatantly not true.

This type of alienation is not necessarily limited only to biological parents. A recent study by social scientists at Colorado State University found that parental alienation is a more widespread social problem than many realize and that grandparents and stepparents can be victims of this type of estrangement as well.

If this happens, it can be devastating to you but it can also greatly harm your child. Because the period during and after divorce is highly emotional for most children, they may go along with your ex's machinations simply to avoid the conflict of being caught in the middle between their parents. Being drawn into a parental alienation scenario, however, can be just as if not more psychologically damaging to your child and can affect his or her relationships well into adulthood.

Tags: Child Custody

Related Posts: The custody battle from a child's perspective, Modification of child custody in Colorado, How do Colorado courts enforce parenting plans?, CFIs, PREs and allocation of parental responsibilities