In general, alienation means interfering with or cutting off a person from relationships with others. This can occur in a number of ways, including criticism, manipulation, threats, distorted reporting or control.
The most widely reported form of alienation is parental alienation – where a parent tries to sabotage the relationship their child has with the other parent.
This is quite common when divorcing someone who has a personality disorder. They become so consumed with bitterness and hatred that getting even with the other parent becomes their number one priority, even if it is at their child’s expense.
The most common occurrence of alienation is the verbal criticism of the other parent – derogatory comments, telling stories about the other parent, portraying their bad side, picking up on their faults, highlighting their mistakes, drawing unfavorable comparisons between them and others.
What NOT to Do:
Don’t verbally berate your child’s other parent in front of them – no matter what they have done. When a child hears that his parent is bad he hears you say that he is bad.
Don’t try to discourage your child’s love for their parent. Separate your feelings from your child’s feelings and understand that they will make up their own mind
about what they think.
Don’t limit your child’s contact with the other parent – except when they are in danger of abuse.
Don’t lie to your children. Be honest with them if they ask a question – but don’t take it as a license to say more than you really need to. If, for example, your child asks you “did mommy do something wrong?” you can say “I think mommy made a mistake” and leave it at that.
Don’t discuss grown up issues with children.
Don’t interrogate your child about what the other parent says or does. If they want to tell you something let them, but leave it at that.
Don’t try to compensate for a parent who is trying to alienate you with gifts or strange behavior. Just be you. Your child is able to separate fact from fiction in cartoons. They can do it in real life too.
What TO Do:
Put the best interests of your child ahead of any personal feelings you may have.
Affirm your child. Tell them you love them. Praise their accomplishments; encourage them to be all they can be.
Be consistent and reliable. Keep your promises.
Document clearly incidents where you feel the other parent is trying to alienate your children from you.
Consult with a COMPETENT attorney about your options. In general, courts do not look favorably on parents who try to alienate their children from the other parent. However, your complaints should be specific and unemotional – with the best interests of the child at heart.
Confront the other parent unemotionally and clearly – in writing is best – if you feel that they are making a mistake. Keep a record of what you have written.
Credit: Psychology Today and Out Of the Fog.
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