Family Matters.
When It Really Matters.

You might be experiencing parental alienation

On Behalf of | Aug 1, 2022 | Child Custody and Visitation

Have you noticed that your child is treating you differently? Have they withdrawn from you, while seemingly becoming ever more attached to your ex-spouse? Do they not want to come to your home during your child custody time? Are they avoiding your telephone calls? If you answered yes to any of these questions, your ex- or soon-to-be ex-spouse may be engaging in parental alienation.

Parental alienation

Parental alienation refers to a narcissistic paradigm of child abuse that harms your child’s healthy mental and emotional development. Specifically, parental alienation occurs when one parent attempts to alienate the other parent from their child by manipulating the child into conducting that alienation.

How does parental alienation occur?

There are several methods of parental alienation, but all seek to suppress or change your child’s parental attachment system. For example, one of the most common methods is through a role-reversal relationship.

With this method, the child is used to meet the emotional and psychological needs of the parent who is alienating the child in an attempt to become the allied or favored parent. Then, this relationship is used to place a wedge between the other parent and the child.

How do I tell if parental alienation is occurring?

Carlsbad, California, parents experiencing parental alienation will notice a sudden shift in their relationship with their child. The child could suddenly begin to disrespect you, argue with you or generally, treat you much more poorly than they have in the past or than they treat the other parent.

Though, one of the most obvious symptoms is that the child begins avoiding you. This could be explicit or implicit in their interactions, but it occurs, seemingly, out of nowhere.

What can be done?

To be clear, in Carlsbad, California, parental alienation is child abuse. If you believe that your child is experiencing it, contact a family therapist, counselor or other mental health medical professional experienced with parental alienation. They can diagnose the issue and distinguish it from normal teenager angst or some other mental health issue.

Then, if you get a parental alienation diagnosis, contact your divorce attorney immediately because you will need to begin the fight to modify the child custody arraignment immediately. After all, parental alienation is not just hurting you, it is also hurting your child.

The child begins to disrespect their other parent. The effect is a form of child abuse, as the pathogenic parent is encouraging poor character and behavior in their child. This form of conditioning can be difficult to discern and undo.