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Parental alienation typically occurs during child custody disputes, when one parent attempts to undermine or destroy the relationship that the child has with the other parent. In essence, this act involves manipulating a child into believing that one parent is a better parent than the other. In order to prevent parental alienation syndrome (PAS), it is imperative to understand exactly what it is, as well as recognize signs that it could be occurring in your family.
Signs of Parental Alienation
Growing up, children look up to and admire their parents. When children become involved with parental alienation, it is possible for the child to become confused, untrusting of either parent, and alienation can lead to severe psychological damage, domestic violence, and abuse.
Some signs of parental alienation include, but are not limited to:
- One parent asking about the other parent’s private life
- Asking a child to choose one parent over the other
- One parent withholding visitation from the other
- Hostility and distaste for one parent reinforced by the other
These actions are likely to have a negative impact on your child, leading them to believe that if he or she has a good time with one parent, they will be punished or chastised by the other. As your child grows and develops, it is essential that they are brought up in an environment where they have a positive and loving relationship with both of their parents.
Do you suspect that your ex-spouse is attempting to alienate you from your child? Call firm immediately to discuss your legal options with a Long Island attorney! We can help protect your parental rights.
How to Address Parental Alienation
Parental alienation syndrome is a serious and commonplace concern throughout just about any divorce that involves a couple that share children together. PAS may even occur without any negative input from either spouse; instead, the child can experience great emotional confusion and decide on their own, consciously or subconsciously, to begin alienating one parent. If you feel as if you are a targeted parent, you should know that PAS often does not resolve on its own accord. You will need to take steps to help your child overcome this misplaced bias.
Tips, hints, and practices an alienated parent should know include:
- Catalogue events: Start keeping track of specific moments of parental alienation for reexamination later. You can use something as simple as a journal to make notes about what happened. This record of events should be reviewed with trusted friends or family who can validate your concerns about PAS. It can also be brought to child psychologists if such therapeutic sessions become necessary.
- Raise your own standards: A child with PAS will exploit and exaggerate any perceived mistakes the alienated parent commits. If you want to regain their trust and support, do your best to remove any incidents they can scrutinize. This means never showing up late to picking them up from visitation, never showing aggression during arguments, always keeping your living space organized, and so on.
- Avoid accusations: Parents who try to speak directly to their children about being alienated will most likely be alienated even further. Children expressing PAS behaviors are often extremely defensive, and trying to argue with them about changing their habits is bound to backfire to some degree. Hold onto hope that things will get better, remain empathetic towards your child’s emotional state, and give them space while you figure out what else you can do.
- Speak to your ex-spouse: If you believe the source of your child’s PAS is your ex-spouse trying to manipulate them, you need to reach out to them to have a discussion. If you are not comfortable with this prospect, you may want to ask a mutual friend to be the bridge between you both. Sometimes an ex-spouse may not even realize they were encouraging PAS and making them aware of the problem can fix it.
- Professional assistance: Are your efforts to address or reduce parental alienation not making any progress? It might be time to consider hiring professionals for help. You can talk to child psychologists or family therapy specialists for emotional concerns. If the PAS is sourced from your ex-spouse and they know it, think about retaining a Long Island lawyer to learn where your legal options lie in that regard.