When parents divorce and enter into child custody negotiations, it is one of the most emotionally taxing events they will ever endure. An unfortunate by-product of these intense emotions can cause some parents to unknowingly alienate their child from the other parent. Usually, all it takes is one little wake-up call for these parents to adjust their behavior and cease the alienation for the good of their children. However, there are some parents who engage in alienation attempts completely on purpose.
No matter why or how it occurs, this behavior is always harmful to children. It is called parental alienation and it occurs when one parent might deliberately attempt to turn a child against the other parent. It is often done by bullying the child or manipulating the child to choose between parents. Many childhood professionals say these behaviors can damage a child’s mental and emotional health well into adulthood.
Some of the ways parents try to alienate their child from the other parent includes:
— Telling the child the other parent does not love him or her
— Hiding or even destroying communications from the other parent
— Withholding affection or parenting if the child wants to spend time with the other parent
— Empowering the child to disregard or disobey the other parent
— Undermining the other parent
— Speaking negatively about the co-parent in the child’s presence
— Making false allegations about sexual abuse committed by the other parent
Some studies have shown that even mild alienation can result in the child having difficulties learning, relaxing and socializing with peers. Some professionals believe that alienated children can also suffer from physical symptoms as well as behavior problems. If you suspect your co-parent is engaging in alienating behaviors, you will benefit from talking over your case with a New Jersey-based lawyer. If the allegations are proven, it is possible to modify your current child custody arrangement in order to protect your children.