Parental alienation is a fairly new concept; in fact the term has only been around since the late 1980’s. However, it is an ever increasing concern for many because of the drastic toll it can take on the parent-child relationship.
Generally defined, parental alienation is the term used when one parent demeans the other parent openly in front of a child, with the intent, either consciously or subconsciously, to alienate the child from that parent. The parent being demeaned is often called the “targeted” parent, and the parent making the comments is called the “alienator”. Parental alienation is most likely to occur during high conflict divorce cases.
The effects of parental alienation can be sweeping, alienating not only a parent, but an entire extended family including grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. Author Jane Appell, Ph.D. breaks parental alienation down into five categories in her book; Divorce Doesn’t Have to Be That Way: A Handbook for the Helping Professional. As the categories increase as does the level of alienation suffered.First, the child has positive relationships with both parents. Second, a child may begin to show affinity with one parent over the other. Third, a child becomes allied with one parent against the other parent. Fourth, a child is estranged from a parent and shows a negative attitude about the targeted parent. Fifth and most severe, the child is completely alienated from the targeted parent and no longer has any type of relationship with that parent.
Douglas Darnall, Ph.D. states in his article, Three Types of Parent Alienators, that the most difficult part of parental alienation is that anyone in the child’s life can become an alienator; this can include parents, friends, aunts, uncles, or grandparents.
The Parental Alienation Awareness Organization lists several signs parents should look for to detect whether parental alienation is happening to them. These signs can range from a sudden negative attitude toward the targeted parent, blaming the targeted parent for financial problems, asking the child about the targeted parent’s personal life, setting up interferences with the targeted parent’s visitation schedule, and asking the child to choose one parent over the other.
So what do you do if you find yourself a target of parental alienation? The first step is to contact your attorney. Your attorney can make the judge in your custody case aware of what is happening. Each case and each judge is different. A judge may simply begin by ordering the alienating parent to stop their harmful actions and take steps to repair the damaged caused. However, is some severe cases, judges have reversed the original custody order and given custody to the targeted parent.
DISCLAIMER: THE INFORMATION PROVIDED ON THIS WEBSITE WAS PREPARED BY SODOMA LAW, P.C. AND IS INTENDED FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND NOT, IN ANY WAY, CONSIDERED LEGAL ADVICE.