Parental Alienation: What It Can Do to Your Children
Posted by Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard, PLLC on April 16, 2021
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Just about everyone has some idea of the impact divorce has on children. For that reason, some people elect to stay in less than perfect relationships to avoid issues. That said, parental alienation represents one of the most harmful aspects of any marital split.
Clinical psychologists have shared information regarding parental alienation syndrome. It comes as a result of parents who just don’t like one another. In many cases, it involves asking the children to take sides.
Experienced family law attorneys advise their clients against speaking poorly about their child’s other parent. Meanwhile, some mothers or fathers threaten to discontinue their relationships if their sons or daughters don’t agree with their opinions.
Consider this important fact: Children are a part of both parents. When a mother or father bad mouths the other, the suggestion is that the child is unworthy. The negative view plays havoc with the children’s self-esteem.
Experts normally think of parental alienation as it pertains to minor children. Truth be told, even adults can be affected by adversarial relationships between their mothers and fathers.
The Impact of Parental Alienation
It’s a typical story in a divorce case. Either mom or dad becomes involved in an extra-marital affair. The aggrieved spouse can’t contain his or her anger and shares it with the children.
As you can imagine, the situation escalates as slang words are thrown around in the household. Absolutely no child wants or needs to hear their mother portrayed by vulgar names – or their father referred to as a player.
Some courts consider parental alienation a form of child abuse. It absolutely impacts the way the court looks at custody cases. When determining child custody when parental alienation is taking place, a few of the factors the court will utilize are:
The willingness and ability of each of the parents to encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship.
The child’s relationships with other family members.
The character and behavior of any other person who resides in or frequents the home of a parent.
However, while these guidelines make it seem like child custody should be straight forward, when parental alienation occurs, the courts may also begin to collect evidence of severely alienated children including:
When one parent attempts to polarize a child against the other, the pain grows with age. Mothers and fathers have equal rights when it comes to the love of their children. Perhaps even more importantly, children are entitled to the love and affection of both parents.
No one says that divorce is easy. However, children should not be victims. Admittedly, it sometimes takes self-control to resist the temptation to give your side of the story.
In some cases, you may be legitimately concerned about safety issues. You should speak with your attorney about the best way to protect your children.
Your children are your legacy. Do what you can to help them grow to maturity free of worry. Keep them safe from what should be your own personal challenges.