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What Are the Signs of Parental Alienation?

July 10, 2013

Has your family gone through a legal separation or divorce? Many times when parents separate and the family becomes broken, parental alienation can become a serious concern. Often times in a contested divorce, the parents have to go through a gruesome child custody battle over the children. Intense courtroom litigation of this nature can stir up strong feelings of hatred, bitterness and resentment towards the former spouse. This is when establishing a co-parenting relationship can become nearly impossible. However, co-parenting is a much healthier approach for the children and it could decrease the level of anxiety and hostility within the family dynamic.

So what is parental alienation exactly? This type of behavior is when one parent begins influencing the children by training them to reject and disrespect the other parent. By encouraging the children to respond negatively to one parent, the alienator is portraying themselves as the good parent and the target parent is being shed in a bad light. In most cases, the alienator does not have any justifiable reasons to turn the other parent into a target, but they do so out of anger. Parental alienation is a destructive behavior that could seriously affect children both emotionally and psychologically.

In order to avoid this harmful and destructive behavior, you have to look out for the warning signs. Some classic signs of parental alienation behavior would include:

  1. Pure black-and-white-thinking: Where the child sees one parent as bad and the other as all good and they feel no remorse about it. The child typically has reinforced hatred, contempt and fear for the targeted parent.

  2. Classic denial: If you ask the child if they are being negatively influenced or coached by the other parent, they will deny it. Usually the child will repeat the alienator's opinions word for word, but claims it to be their own feelings.

  3. Negativity towards extended family: Typically when an alienator reinforces negative thoughts about the targeted parent, those feelings will also extend to the targeted parent's extended family as well. If your child used to have a loving relationship with that side of the family and they are now refusing contact with them, then alienation may have occurred.

  4. The reasons for content are unwarranted: If the child has strong feelings of hatred and negativity towards the targeted parent and they are based on frivolous reasons, then it may alienation. The negative feelings will not be rooted in anything substantial, but they simply stem from destructive alienating behavior.

  5. The child will repeatedly reject contact with one parent: Often times the relationship between the child and targeted parent started out loving. After a while the targeted parent is astonished to find out that their child no longer want to spend time with them.

The damaging effects of parental alienation have been found to be long lasting. Children who have parental alienation syndrome will feel that they have lost a parent role model and could have problems forming their own close family relationships down the road. If you feel that the signs of parental alienation are evident in your family, you must take action in the early stages to avoid any permanent damage. Proving to the court that destructive parental alienation behaviors exist can be difficult. That is why you should consult with an experienced Pasadena divorce attorney to help you seek the help that you need. You need an attorney who understands the problem that you are facing. Here at the Law Office of Fritzie Galliani, APC we have been helping families for over 30 years. Contact our Pasadena family law firm today to discuss your case.