During a divorce, Pennsylvania residents may use certain tactics to try to get back at each other. Frequently, this entails parents pitting their children against one another. While parental alienation can be difficult to prove in court, this tactic can estrange a child from one parent and strengthen his or her unhealthy bond with the other parent. A therapist may need to intervene to stop the damage that the alienator is causing.
What is parental alienation?
When a person engages in parental alienation, he or she tries to turn his or her child against the other parent after a divorce. An individual may regularly criticize his or her child’s other parent in front of him or her, tell lies about that person and exaggerate the parent’s flaws to make him or her seem like a bad person. Since the child wants to please the parent, he or she tends to go along with the lies and may start to view his or her other parent negatively.
Parents who engage in alienation typically have unhealthy relationships with their children. They often rely on their kids to fulfill their emotional needs and expect them to act like friends or therapists. Children typically go along with it because they don’t know any better. To make matters worse, a person may deliberately confuse his or her child by accusing the other parent of doing things that he or she, him or herself, is doing.
Often, the court must intervene to make a parent stop engaging in alienation. The child may be removed from a parent’s custody altogether and sent to live with the other parent. Additionally, a therapist may need to talk with the parent to help him or her understand why he or she engages in alienation and relies on his or her child for his or her emotional needs.
What can you do if your former spouse engages in alienation?
If you suspect that your ex is attempting to ruin your child’s relationship you, it may be time to meet with a divorce attorney. While this type of behavior can be difficult to prove in court, a lawyer could help you demonstrate to the judge that your ex is trying to estrange you from your child.