Bitter and extended child custody litigation often leads to parental alienation. While it is not uncommon for parents to have intense feelings of anger, anxiety, and mistrust, over time these feelings typically do go away and both parties settle into a reasonable co-parenting relationship.
Parental alienation, on the other hand, occurs when one parent influences a child (that parent is also known as the “alienator”), encouraging them to reject the other parent. In some cases, parental alienation can result in complete rejection of the target parent, even as the reasons behind the child’s rejection are unjustified or even frivolous.
Because of the intense emotions involved in a lengthy divorce and custody battle, most parents will experience some type of strain and frustration with their co-parenting relationship. Some may even engage in destructive or harmful behaviors that lead to a child distancing themselves from that same parent.
The Signs of Parental Alienation
- The child views the alienating parent as the “good” one and expresses only negative feelings toward the target parent. This type of black and white thinking often is the result of one parent teaching the child to feel the same way they do toward the other parent – creating feelings of hatred, resentment, etc.
- The child denies that they have been influenced by the alienator parent. When the child is questioned about their behavior, they will deny any accusation that the alienator parent has influenced them, and instead claim that they have formed their own opinion about the target parent.
- The child’s negativity extends to the target parent’s other family as well. As the feelings of resentment grow, the child may refuse to visit or contact relatives of the target parent as well – often because the alienator parent is warning them to avoid interactions with them.
- The reasons for the child’s contempt or resentment are for frivolous reasons. When asked, the child’s reasons are unjustified and not based on personal experiences.
- The child refuses to have contact with the other parent. After a loving and close relationship with the target parent, they suddenly withdrawal and no longer want any contact.
Parental alienation is extremely destructive and carries long-term consequences for both parents, as well as the child. It is something that often must be addressed by a professional to undo and help the child realize that their reasons for not wanting the other parent around are not their own, nor are they justified. A parent may need to seek the assistance of a professional that has experience in these types of cases and, if the alienator parent refuses to participate in parent-child therapy, an attorney may need to be brought in for assistance.
Contact Sarieh Law Offices Today
If your child is showing signs of parental alienation, seek professional help right away. Then, contact Sarieh Law Offices. We can assist you with holding the alienator parent responsible, and also ensure that they attend parent-child therapy to help your child recover from the damage they have done. Speak with an attorney over a 30-minute consultation at 714-542-6200, or fill out our convenient online contact form to get started.