“We Do Things Differently Here At Dad’s (Or Mom’s House)” And That’s Okay!

Nearly every parent is disappointed and angry when the marriage fails. Some parents do a good job of harnessing the emotions unleashed by divorce. Some do not. Most parents understand the importance of keeping kids out of the middle and they do a fairly good job of honoring this responsibility. Some parents, though, are so blinded by rage that they lose sight of their children’s need to love and be loved by both parents. These parents enlist children as allies in a battle against the other parent. Through persistent bad-mouthing, lies, exaggerations, overlooking positives, and drum-beating negatives, they manipulate their children to reject the other parent in the same way a politician paints a unfavorable picture to alienate voters from the opponent.

Children who absorb the lesson of hatred suffer what is known as parental alienation. They pull away from a formerly loved mother or father, and often an entire extended family, leaving the rejected relatives puzzled over what they might have said or done that caused a total rupture in relations. Some hurt parents lose their temper with a child who either refuses to communicate or does so only with utter contempt. Before assigning equal blame to the rejected parent we need to differentiate between a pattern of mistreatment and isolated lapses of judgment, between a cause of the alienation and a desperate, helpless, ultimately inadequate response..

Alienators are known to do these things:

  • Doesn’t inform you of upcoming school activities (especially unexpected ones)parental alienation is child abuse
  • Expresses no enthusiasm for fun events you’re doing with the child (vacations, amusement parks, etc)
  • Refers to you by your first name in their home (Dad becomes “David;” Mom becomes “Julie”)
  • Accomplishes a post-visitation shakedown, extracting as much info as possible to find negatives
  • Hands the phone directly to the child when you call, avoiding even civil conversations with you
  • Pops anti-depressant pills (as many have a history of depression)
  • Never calls you when the child is sick or taken out of school
  • Teaches the child adult things to tell you, such as “I don’t feel comfortable about the duration of our summer visitation, Dad” or “You’re a One Trick Pony, Dad”
  • Labels themselves the “good” parent; labels you the “bad” parent
  • Tells the child in vivid detail how he or she was victimized by you (while taking no blame at all for the divorce)
  • Teaches the child how to lie to you (coating their little hearts with false malice and scorn)
  • Diminishes your extended family’s worth
  • Neglects to have the child call you for your birthday, on New Year’s Eve, or other important dates
  • Refuses to help the child reach and call/email/mail cards on relatives’ birthdays on your side of the family tree
  • Rarely if ever a call to you on Father’s Day or Mother’s Day on behalf of child
  • Never gets the child excited about seeing you
  • Reminds the child of all that he or she will be missing while with you and away from them
  • Inflicts his or her unhappiness onto the child (as alienators are deeply unhappy people)
  • Attempts via a lawyer to reduce visitation to that even below family court minimum standards
  • Takes the child out of state without a peep, while demands precise details whenever you travel with them
  • Views any event in the child’s life– a distant Aunt’s birthday, a friend’s birthday, etc– as more important than their time with you
  • Teaches the children from their prior marriage to despise you
  • Is jealous of anything fun and memorable you do with the child (as they view the good times as a threat)
  • Gripes about things you’re doing as a parent to the child, but says nothing to you about it
  • Lacks a filter, spilling any adult topic into the child’s head

Credit: John T. Steinbeck

Credit: Huffington Post

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