How to Combat Parental Alienation
Parental alienation can distort a child’s view of one of their parents. It typically happens when one parent decides to target another by attempting to discredit him/her. This type of behavior is damaging to children as it greatly impacts their beliefs, viewpoints regarding their parents, and their overall sense of safety and security.
If you are dealing with parental alienation as a targeted parent, it is best to secure the help of an experienced lawyer. Our team is happy to help you work through this hard time together. Contact us online to schedule a consultation.
What Is Parental Alienation?
Parental alienation is a process by which one parent attempts to convince their child that their other parent is dangerous, abusive, or “bad” and should be avoided. This often results in the child becoming afraid or fearful of the targeted parent. Examples of parental alienation might include but are not limited to the following:
- Telling your child that their mother/father does not love them
- Convincing your child that their mother/father prefers their new family (if remarried)
- Speaking badly about one parent
What Should You Do if You Are Accused of Parental Alienation?
If you are accused of parental alienation, it would be beneficial to have a discussion with your co-parent about your behavior. You could also consult with a licensed therapist for additional support. Take some time to reflect on your behavior and what your co-parent has shared with you. If you think you may have inadvertently exhibited this type of behavior, try to speak more positively of your co-parent in front of your children. If your co-parent files a motion to modify custody, then it is time to consult with a lawyer.
What to Do if You Are the Targeted Parent of Parental Alienation
If you are being targeted by your co-parent, the best thing to do is schedule a consultation with a lawyer to discuss your options. Next, begin documenting everything you can to prove your co-parent has been alienating you. This might include text messages, email threads, conversations, and social media posts. If you think your child would benefit from therapy at this time, you might want to consider scheduling some sessions for him/her.
If the parental alienation behavior is severe, you may also want to file a motion to modify parenting time and/or custody.
How Can You Combat Parental Alienation?
It is important to keep communication open and honest with your co-parent. If you feel that he/she has exhibited patterns of parental alienation, have a conversation about it and put down a boundary. If this behavior continues, see if you both can go to parenting classes or therapy together. If this behavior gets worse or continues, seek out the help of an experienced attorney.
Ways to Prove Parental Alienation
It can be difficult to prove parental alienation in court; however, if you keep documentation of conversations between a child and the parent responsible for this behavior, that is a good start. It may also help to have a therapist, coach, teacher, and/or caretaker keep an eye on your child and document any changes in their behavior. Often, an expert witness is needed to help prove instances of parental alienation.
If you need assistance modifying custody or parenting time, contact our office online or call us at (516) 406-8381 today.