Parting ways with a spouse is rarely easy, but it can be especially difficult if you share children with your former partner. Because divorce can be such an emotional time, sometimes parents act in ways that end up hurting their kids and damaging family relationships.
In a nutshell, parental alienation occurs when one parent talks about his or her child’s other parent in a negative way. This often comes in the form of bad-mouthing or disclosing personal details of the divorce. As a result, these behaviors often lead children to have distorted views of the other parent. Here are three signs to look out for:
1. Unjustified criticism toward one part
If your child has uncharacteristically started criticizing you without justification, it may be a sign they are hearing the negativity from someone else. In particular, if this behavior started after your divorce, it is reasonable to believe your former spouse may have something to do with it.
2. Unwavering support of the other parent
In addition, if your child shows unwavering support for their other parent while refusing to hear your side of the story, this may also be a sign of parental alienation. The extremity of this can depend on the extent of the alienator parent’s discrediting or programming.
3. Disconnection from other family members
How does your child treat the rest of your side of the family? If you notice your son or daughter is also negative toward aunts, uncles, or grandparents from your side, it may be another sign.
Parental alienation can play a big role in child-parent relationships as well as custody proceedings. Recognizing the signs can help you figure out how to respond.