Parental alienation: An unacceptable factor in some divorces

There is little worse than having a once-loving child tell you that he or she is scared of you or doesn't want to be around you. For parents dealing with parental alienation, this may be a way of life until the situation comes back under control.

Parental alienation can happen because one ex-spouse wants to hurt the other or because the parent wants a child all to him- or herself. It might happen for no good reason at all.

Many assume that parental alienation only happens to fathers, but the reality is that either parent can turn a child against the other. By suggesting that the other parent is bad, enticing the child with rewards for certain behaviors and keeping the child away from the other parent, it's possible to limit the child's contact with his or her mother or father and to turn him or her against the other parent.

Parental alienation is the emotional abuse of a child, and it should be stopped as soon as it's recognized. If a parent can show that the other is alienating a child, it's possible to have the court step in and change the custody arrangements to better protect the child. Legal action may take time, but it's worth protecting your child from becoming alienated from those who want to protect him or her.

Your attorney can help you file a claim in court if you believe alienation is a problem in your case. Your child deserves only the best care, not to live with a parent who uses him or her for his or her own purposes.

Source: Open Minds Foundation, "What to Do About Parental Alienation," accessed April 12, 2018

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