Unfortunately Parental Alienation is Real

Unfortunately, parental alienation is all to real & extremely sad. It is hard to watch when parents use their children or put them in the middle of adults who don't get along & become adversaries. It can occur in subtle ways such as contentious, caustic text messages & emails between former spouses, partners & even brief encounters that result in a child. It can occur in more blatant ways such as talking poorly about the other parent in front of the child or even extreme ways such as accusing a parent of emotional abuse, neglect, physical abuse & even sexual abuse. Either way in whatever form it occurs it is destructive. It creates tension & confusion in children who find themselves having to please each parent. It creates anxiety & insecurity in our children. Ultimately in the extreme forms, it forces a child to have to choose between their parents. 

Unfortunately I have witnessed various forms of parental alienation as an adult, friend & therapist. Often the parent leading the alienation is savvy, may have good social skills & is believable. The focus is on them being a "good parent".  It is not on what the child's emotional, mental & physical needs are. The focus is not about the importance of the child having a good relationship with both parents.  Alienating parents from their children can lead to the child acting out in various ways such as arguing, defiance, angry outbursts, depressive & anxious symptoms such as somatic complaints (i.e. stomachaches, headaches). It can result in distractibility in school, kids falling behind as their primary focus is on pleasing the parent.

I have attached a couple of articles that explain in more detail the signs & impacts of parental alienation. In my next couple of blogs, I am planning on talking about co-parenting & the importance of amicable divorces.



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