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Parental alienation can hurt children

On Behalf of | Dec 6, 2023 | Family Law |

Parental alienation is when one parent attempts to negatively influence his or her children’s perception of the other parent. The goal is often to strain or destroy the children’s relationship with this targeted parent through tactics like lies, false accusations, restriction of access to the other parent and emotional manipulation.

Exposure to parental alienation and the toxic environment it creates can have serious short- and long-term consequences for children.

The impact

Children caught in the crossfire of parental alienation often experience a range of negative consequences. One primary effect is the erosion of their relationship with the alienated parent. They may begin to harbor resentment, fear or hostility toward the targeted parent, leading to a breakdown in communication and trust and an inability to listen to reason.

This emotional manipulation can result in long-term psychological harm. Children subjected to parental alienation may develop low self-esteem, anxiety and depression. They may also have a harder time forming healthy relationships as they grow up.

The signs

Indicators may include a sudden and unexplained aversion to the targeted parent and reluctance to spend time with him or her. Children may parrot negative statements about the alienated parent. They may also display intense anger or hostility and disrespect towards the targeted parent without valid reasons and blame him or her for small, random things.

Contemporary pediatrics states that 10 million Americans suffered perceived severe alienation from their children as of 2022. Even more were targets, and these numbers do not take into account unreported accounts. Parental alienation can hurt children. Parents need to show patience and understanding with alienated children as they try to help them through this difficult time. By doing so, they show their children the truth and help their own case if they need to petition the court for help.

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