8 Signs of Parental Alienation and why you may need an attorney
Divorce and child custody battles are one of the hardest things that anyone can go through. It is especially tough when children are involved, here are 8 signs of parental alienation.
Although you could not make your relationship with your spouse work, the two of you are still parents and must do what is necessary to protect the stability and psychological health of your children. Unfortunately, not everyone sees things in this light.
In some divorces, one parent will weaponize the feelings and emotions of their children against the other parent. This can lead to parental alienation syndrome.
If your child has fallen into this condition, you should hire a parental alienation attorney. What does a parental alienation attorney do? How are they different?
Parental alienation is the result of a sustained campaign by one parent to destroy the child’s bond with the other. A parental alienation attorney specializes in identifying the indications and patterns of such behavior, gathering the evidence needed to prove it legally, and acting to mitigate its effects. Parental alienation lawyers can get the court to intervene on behalf of the parent who has been targeted.
What is Parental Alienation Syndrome?
Parental alienation is recognized as a condition in the field of psychology and in law. It occurs when one parent attempts to harden the feelings of a child against the other.
This involves the manipulation of the child’s feelings in order to erode their relationship with the other parent. It is often the result of blocking access to the other parent and filing false, frivolous, and exaggerated claims against them. The child becomes unjustifiably hostile, angry, and unfriendly toward their mother or father.
8 signs of Parental Alienation Syndrome
1. A rigid visitation schedule
If you do not spend time with your child, you cannot bond with them. You can miss the most important events in their life, and you can leave them feeling as though you do not care what they do and how they are. Children need attention and recognition from their parents.
They want to tell you about the awards they’ve won in school, the new friends they’ve made, and everything else that goes on in their lives. If you are never around to hear these things, then they will slowly drift away from you emotionally.
If your ex has maintained the kind of visitation schedule that makes it impossible for you to spend quality time with your kids, then they may be violating the law. You should act to defend your parental right to see your child.
2. Making the child feel guilty for having fun with the other parent
Manipulative people know how to work the emotions of sensitive and vulnerable people. No one is more susceptible to such efforts than a child.
Your ex need not attack you explicitly to make your child feel guilty about enjoying the time they spend with you. They will know the words, gestures, and remarks to employ to get the emotional response they’re after. This is one of the most telling of the 8 signs of parental alienation.
3. Speaking badly about the other parent with the child
The first stage of alienating a child’s feelings toward the other parent is cutting off access to them. The next part is openly bad-mouthing them to the child. The first response of the child is usually confusion and bewilderment.
This may give rise to rebellion against what is being said. But after a while, the child may come to believe what is being said by one parent about another.
4. Blaming the other parent for issues in front of the child
Most reasonable adults understand why it is necessary to protect their children against distressing news. A parent who seeks to turn their child against the other parent seeks opportunities to share bad news in front of their children.
If there are money problems or other issues that will cause stress and strain in the child, such a parent will exaggerate their possible effects and blame the other parent for it.
5. Falsely accusing the other parent of physical or substance abuse
It may strike a reasonable person as the lowest thing that a parent can do, but it nevertheless happens. If you are a father, your child may come to believe that you have physically assaulted their mother. If you are a mother, your baby may come to think that you use alcohol or drugs.
You may find them digging through your things looking for proof of your malfeasance. They may even call the police on an unfounded suspicion that you have done something wrong. Such actions are often the result of false accusations against one parent by the other. All of which can be signs of parental alienation.
6. Destroying or hiding presents
You may like to give your child gifts now and then. This is a perfectly natural response to your own feelings of guilt after the divorce, and there is nothing wrong with it.
You want your child to know that you will always be in their lives and that you love them very much. If you discover that your child never received the gifts, it may owe to the fact that your ex hid or destroyed them.
7. Now allowing the other parent access to school or medical records
School is a big part of the life of all children. If you do not know what is going on with them at school, you are missing a big chunk of their life.
If your ex has taken the extraordinary step of blocking your access to your child’s school or medical records, you may not be able to track their progress. You may also be unaware of any problems they may be having and may not know to discuss them with your child.
8. Not including another parent in the child’s extracurricular activities
This is a big one. Whether it is a sporting event, a school play, a music recital, or some other social event with other kids, it is essential that both parents attend to show their support. Children take this very seriously.
They need to know that you care enough about them to see them perform and tell them how well they did afterward. The parents of the other kids will be there. If you are not there to offer your support and encouragement, your child will feel embarrassed and come to believe that you do not care about them. However, you cannot attend such events if you do not know about them.
If your ex misleads you about the dates of your child’s extracurricular activities or takes some other action to bar you from them, it is an attempt to turn your child against you.
Why You May Need a Parental Alienation Attorney
The dissolution of your marriage was bad enough. You believed it was possible to at least salvage your relationship with your child. You are now losing that as well.
If you believe your child is being systematically turned against you, the last thing you should do is lash out at your ex. This will only make things worse.
In fact, it is often the attention of the parent engaged in this activity to prompt that exact response. They want you to be aggressive with them, so that they can demonstrate to your child how cruel and abusive you are.
Do not fall into this trap. Call a lawyer instead.
Proving manipulation and brainwashing is hard. Subtlety, deceit, and understatement are central to such attempts. And you don’t want to cause any more harm to your child.
Attorneys who specialize in parental alienation syndrome cases know how to gather the evidence that is necessary to prove that your child is being turned against you.
During the initial consultation, they will ask you to describe everything that you have observed, witnesses, and heard when it comes to your child. The purpose of the interview will be to discern a pattern. This will be used as a foundation for further investigation.
What Your Attorney Can Do
It will be necessary for your lawyer to launch an independent investigation into the activities of the other parent. Lawyers who handle these cases understand the sensitive nature of this kind of work, and they will ensure that the investigation is carried out in a discrete and thoroughly professional manner.
The sole aim will be to gather evidence that your ex is manipulating your child; that their actions are ruining your relationship with them; and that this will cause long-term mental damage to the child.
The fortunate thing is that courts recognize this form of abuse and are willing to intervene on behalf of the aggrieved parent.
It is possible to gather facts that prove your alienation from your child and to get specific remedies that arrest this condition. If you have experienced any of these 8 signs of parental alienation. Your first step must be to contact an experienced attorney.
Obviously, these aren’t the only signs of parental alienation.
Here is a great article by a forensic trial expert on parental alienation.