Children generally benefit from having a relationship with both their parents. Sometimes, however, one or both parents may not only not facilitate this, but instead, act to impede their kids from having meaningful relationships with their other parents.
To help prevent this from happening in their own families, it helps for people to have an understanding of parental alienation.
Defining parental alienation
According to Psychology Today, parental alienation involves a child cutting off the relationship with a parent. This typically occurs because the other parent manipulates the child to break down the relationship or punishes the child for pursuing it. For instance, a parent with whom the child resides the majority of the time tells him or her the other parent has chosen not to visit, possibly building feelings of abandonment and resentment. However, the noncustodial parent has actually made numerous attempts to spend time with the child that the other parent has not allowed.
Spotting parental alienation
According to WebMD.com, knowing the signs to watch out for during a divorce or after may help parents to protect their kids. Some common signs a child has experienced parental alienation include the following:
- Criticizing the alienated parent without cause and often severely
- Asking to keep positive interactions with the alienated parent from the other parent
- Defending the other parent’s actions and denying any influence
- Lacking feelings of guilt or remorse for harsh words or hateful feelings
If parents believe their kids have suffered parental alienation, they may pursue their options for stopping this behavior and the potential fallout it may cause for their children and their families.