Raising children is not easy and requires good faith behavior on the part of both parents. Unfortunately, some parenting situations see one or both parents engaging in behaviors designed to sabotage the parent-child relationship of the other parent. Parental alienation is one of these behaviors, and it typically leads to emotional injury for any child involved and the worsening of an already adverse situation. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to address parental alienation and preserve your precious relationship with your child.
How Parental Alienation Works
Parental alienation refers to the efforts of one parent to essentially destroy the relationship the other has with their child or children. It is a selfish act that outright ignores the child’s best interests and can lead to significant psychological injuries.
Typically, parental alienation occurs during or after a divorce, but it may also happen before a couple separates.
Those who engage in parental alienation aim to turn a child against the other parent. They accomplish this through basic manipulation that children are too young to see through. They use lies, exaggerations, and statements taken out of context to convince their children that the other parent should not only be avoided but also shunned.
Keep in mind that although parental alienation is typically instigated by a parent, other family members, such as grandparents and adult children, can also cause provoke it.
Why Parental Alienation Occurs
Understanding why parental alienation occurs can help predict and prevent it from happening. It may also help you come up with a solution to the alienation and restore a damaged relationship with your child.
Unresolved Marital Issues
A divorce may end your marriage, but it does not solve the problems you and your spouse have. These issues typically seep into post-divorce relationships.
If the situation is sufficiently inflammatory, one or both parents may end up causing parental alienation by constantly bad-mouthing the other in front of the child, blaming the divorce on them, or seeking an ally in the child.
In many cases, parental alienation occurs because one parent is unhappy with some action or decision taken by the other parent. Sometimes, the catalyst may be an unfavorable court ruling. Either way, the disgruntled parent seeks to make themselves feel better by poisoning the parent-child relationship.
Some cases of parental retaliation occur due to simple and not-so-simple misunderstandings. Open and constant communication between parents can help avoid crossed lines and subsequent alienation efforts.
What You Can Do About Parental Alienation
New York judges take a strong stance against parental alienation and are ready to act swiftly in the best interests of a child. However, it is notoriously difficult to prove and may be trying on the manipulated child. Hence, it is typically better to seek to resolve your parental alienation issues “in house” whenever possible.
When that is not possible, a family law attorney may be able to help. Contact the Cimino Law Firm if you need an experienced family law attorney to help you deal with parental alienation.