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What is parental alienation?

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Divorces are often complex, especially when children are involved. Many issues can disrupt the parent-child relationship and some of these issues may originate with the ex-spouse. 

Parental alienation is a common occurrence in contentious divorces. Not only can it affect the outcome of child custody cases, it can also have a direct impact on the relationship between parents and children. Here are some of the signs of parental alienation so you can take the right steps to correct any issues as they arise. 

Common signs of parental alienation

In general, there are eight accepted signs that one parent is attempting to poison a child against the other parent: 

  • The parent being alienated is subject to constant criticism from their child 
  • There are no specific instances of abuse or mistreatment included in the criticisms 
  • The child has no positive feelings about the alienated parents, they are all uniformly negative 
  • The child claims all criticisms as his or her own, without acknowledging the influence of the other parent 
  • In contrast, the child has nothing but praise for the other parent, the one doing the influencing 
  • The child experiences no guilt for his or her treatment of the alienated parent 
  • The child parrots language or anecdotes from the alienating parent regarding the other parent’s conduct 
  • The child is also critical of close relatives to the alienated parent 

How alienation occurs

The alienating parent can take large and small steps to influence their child. They may take over the other parent’s time with the kids by planning fun events during those times, such as a trip to a local amusement park. The alienating parent may also inform the child about adult matters, such as conflicts that led to the divorce, including infidelity. The parent may also constantly claim that the child is busy when the other parent calls or visits, but tells others that the alienated parent makes no attempts to see the child.

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