Parental alienation is a troubling issue. With parental alienation, children are essentially turned against one of their parents due to the actions of the other. In around 10% to 15% of divorces and separations, the children involved in those cases resist spending time with one of their parents, even if it is safe for them to do so.
Not every case like this is a sign of parental alienation, but it can be a cause for concern when your child suddenly begins acting differently. To recognize if alienation may be to blame, here are three things to look for.
- Sudden changes in behavior
One big sign of alienation is having a child suddenly change their behaviors. For example, if a child who was excited to see their mom or dad last week shifts and shuts down while saying they no longer want to go, it’s important to get down to the root cause. Did their mom or dad say something negative about the other parent? Did they promise them something if they didn’t go to see the other parent? Watch out for these sudden behavior changes and address them immediately when they occur.
- Making big promises
Making big promises to your child can easily be a sign of alienation tactics. For instance, if your ex-spouse wanted more custody but did not get what they wanted, then they may start suggesting that your child asks to stay with them more. They may promise more snacks, vacations, toys or other items to them for stating that they want to live there.
- Vague excuses for missed custody dates
Finally, watch out for vague excuses for missed custody dates. Whether the other parent is trying to manipulate their time or your child is making excuses with no real support, this could be a sign of alienation that you should address.
If parental alienation takes hold, it can take a long time to help a child understand what happened. This kind of emotional manipulation could have a negative impact on them for life, so it’s important to look into seeking psychiatric assistance and guidance from your attorney.