Listen to this post

Is your relationship with your child suddenly tense? Do you suspect that your ex may have played a role in your parenting struggles? Your current emotional turmoil may best be explained by parental alienation.

A common, yet under-discussed phenomenon, parental alienation (PA) occurs when one parent psychologically manipulates his or her children into demonstrating an unwarranted hostility towards — or fear of — the other parent. Deeply traumatic for both affected parents and their children, PA can cause long-term damage. Below, we discuss this frightening trend — and how it can best be combated.

How Does Parental Alienation Work?

The motivations that underlie PA can differ from one parent to the next. Many desire vengeance for perceived slights. Others are simply possessive of their children. Either way, these parents will stop at nothing to ensure that their children dislike or distrust the other parent. They may use disparaging comments or false allegations to paint a negative picture of their ex. Others hoard parenting time in hopes of preventing their kids from getting at the truth.

Fighting Back

The effects of parental alienation can cut deep. By the time you catch wind of your ex’s reprehensible behavior, your child may have endured months, even years of calculated efforts to poison your relationship. Still, all hope is not lost.

First, begin documenting the problem. Court action may come into play, and when it does, you’ll want ample evidence. Highlight specific dates in which your ex blocked you from seeing your children. Mention other suspicious behaviors, such as comments indicative of parental alienation.

Strive to maintain contact with your child. Resist the urge to play dirty with your ex; your child may perceive this as proof of your ill intentions. Work with an attorney to determine whether legal action is possible or advisable in your situation.

No matter the nature of your relationship with your ex or children, you can count on the law firm of Barna, Guzy & Steffen, Ltd. for support. Reach out today to get a better sense of your legal options.