How to Spot the Signs of Parental Alienation

Divorce is rarely easy. If you’ve endured a messy split, there may, understandably, be some residual tension between you and your former spouse. While this is normal, a subsequent dramatic shift in your child’s behavior after your separation could be a sign of something far more serious in your coparent’s conduct.

Parental alienation occurs when one parent actively tries to distance a child from their other parent. And it could be happening to you. Look out for these actions to spot the early signs of parental alienation.

Oversharing Details of Your Divorce

If your former spouse is going into the intimate details of your divorce with your children, there is a chance that they are attempting to distance your child from you by controlling the narrative.

It’s important to note that this is not to be confused with subdued efforts to be honest with your child. While children may benefit from some level of candor, the specific timeline of events preceding your divorce can be kept private. These specifics could be recounted in a way that antagonizes you, leading to a negative image of you and an injured parent-child relationship.

False Allegations

Beyond oversharing the true facts of your divorce, pay attention to the accuracy of other stories your ex is telling. Some anecdotes may be exaggerated and include false allegations of abuse or mistreatment with the intent of breaking your child’s trust in you.

Body Language

Your ex’s body language in conversations with you while your child is around could reveal signs of parental alienation. If they excessively cross their arms, shake their head, and roll their eyes, they could be attempting to influence your children’s view of you.

Your Children’s Actions

Alienation will have distinct effects on your child’s behavior. If your child starts claiming that they hate you or are hesitant to admit to enjoying time with you out of guilt for what the alienating parent would think, it could be a result of parental alienation.

Impacts on Your Visits with Your Children

Alienating parents often make considerable efforts to keep their children away from their coparent. They may attempt to keep them from visiting by signing the children up for activities on the alienated parent’s custody days. Alternatively, they may give their child choices and let them decide whether they want to see the alienated parent, while heavily encouraging them not to visit. Even when the child does stick to the visitation schedule, they could start to resent the alienated parent for taking them from the alternate activity the alienating parent tempted them with.

Parental alienation can significantly damage your relationship with your children. If you suspect that your coparent is trying to alienate you, contact Hanson, Gorian, Bradford, & Hanich. We can work to protect and restore your familial bond. Call us at (951) 506-6654 to get started.
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