Nobody who is going through a divorce will be thrilled about it. It is often an extremely stressful and emotional situation. However, when one parent accuses the other of parental alienation, the situation gets exponentially tense. Parental “custody battles” are laden with fear that the other parent will entangle and turn their children against them.
Disparaging one parent in front of a child is insufficient to make a child feel estranged. When the other parent makes a concerted effort to turn your child against you, this is referred to as parental alienation. Parental alienation syndrome has been given a name to recognize the potential long-term implications for a child’s development.
What Is Parental Alienation?
Parental alienation is a term that refers to an attempt to convince a child to reject or turn against one of their parents. It’s typical in family court when one spouse attempts to undermine their child’s relationship with the other parent to gain an advantage in an ongoing custody dispute.
Are You Able to Recognize the Signs of Parental Alienation?
The child may begin to express irrational and unfavorable feelings publicly and thoughts about the other parent, including but not limited to hatred, disdain, fear, discomfort, fury, and disapproval, which are out of proportion to the child’s actual interactions with that parent.
There are several reasons why a child may eventually reject everything, and everyone is linked with the other parent, including the other parent’s new spouse, family members on the other parent’s side, pets, and even activities they used to enjoy together.
How to Avoid Parental Alienation?
Parents who purposefully attempt to hurt, interfere with, reject, or ignore their child’s relationship with the other parent may be guilty of parental alienation. Parental alienation often manifests itself in the following ways:
- Making it difficult or impossible for the child to see the other parent (including moving away with the child with the explicit purpose of interfering with the other parent’s visitation)
- Making the child feel guilty for expressing positive feelings or thoughts about the other parent via exaggerated or untrue attacks (such as claims of domestic abuse)
- Blaming the other parent for the alienating parent’s divorce, marital difficulties, or personal difficulties is typical abuse in front of children.
- Overzealous enforcement of a tight visitation schedule, threats of contempt for minor disagreements, or violations of court orders are just a few examples of how a parent may misuse their position as the child’s guardian.
When Is Reunification Therapy More Detrimental Than Beneficial?
They are supposed to aid their customers in building appropriate coping mechanisms for life’s obstacles by listening and offering suggestions. If children believe the therapist has an ulterior motive or purpose, the harmful conflict dynamic in treatment sessions will endure. Regardless of how terrible or amazing a parent you think you are, reversing the labels does not resolve the issue. Reunification therapy should not be used to “cure” an alienated parent but to alleviate hostility and restore family relationships. Children must feel respected and secure in the presence of therapists.
What Role Does Trust Play in Reconciling Families?
Children must understand that the therapist’s goal is to assist them in reaching their most significant potential. If alienated children feel the therapist is “working for” one parent or the court, they are more likely to resist reunification. The process of alienation and reunion may jolt and confound a child’s psyche. They regularly find themselves in situations beyond their developmental stage and understanding. When children are engaged in custody battles, they mustn’t see therapy as a battleground but rather a place where they may feel supported and comfortable.
A Parental Alienation Checklist
In the trial Fielding vs. Fielding, 2013 ONSC 5102, it was alleged that the father was turning two of the three children against the mother. The mother’s attorney presented an expert witness in court who documented seventeen instances where the alienating parent harmed her children. This checklist for parental alienation has become a standard.
- Openly talking badly about the other parent.
- Developing an undue reliance on themself and undermining parental authority from the alienated parent.
- Restricting the amount of time spent with the child by the child’s estranged parent.
- Changing the child’s name to disassociate the child from the divorced parent.
- Interfering with a parent’s capacity to interact with their child, either by preventing them from communicating or withdrawing the child’s visiting privileges.
- Not sharing medical, social, or academic information about the child with the estranged parent and having the parent’s name erased from paperwork.
- Limiting the number of photographs taken of the estranged parent or the amount of time the alienated parent is talked about.
- Referring to a new spouse as “mom or dad” in front of the child and demanding that the child address their new step-parent the same way.
- Distancing oneself from the child in any possible way or expressing anger toward them.
- Making the child address the estranged parent using their first name rather than “mom” or “dad.”
- Forcing a child to choose sides.
- Teaching the child to conceal a secret from a distant parent.
- Giving the appearance that the other parent is uninvolved in your child’s life or doesn’t love them anymore.
- Inviting the child to spy on the other parent they have been separated from.
- Instilling in the child the notion that the other parent is a threat.
- Making the child reject an estranged parent.
- Providing a minor with a significant amount of adult and legal knowledge.
Contact an Indianapolis Parental Alienation Attorney
They may be tough to navigate when dealing with parental alienation issues. At Trapp Law, LLC, no two circumstances are identical, and as a result, we provide customized solutions for each of our clients. It is critical to our Indianapolis parental alienation attorneys that we take all the necessary steps to get the best possible outcome for your case.