When you think about parental alienation, you might think about a parent blatantly saying to a child that the other parent is bad or is going to hurt them. The reality is usually a little less sinister. Parental alienation can happen even when one parent doesn’t intend to alienate their kids against the other parent.

Alienation happens as a result of a combination of factors. For example, if a 10-year-old child sees that their dad loves it when they are mad at their mom, then they might try to act out even more to please him. Similarly, if they’re promised gifts or vacations with one parent but don’t get those kinds of experiences with the other, it can start to drive a wedge between the child and their parents.

Parental alienation is a problem, and it’s one that has to be addressed regardless of the cause

Whether one parent is intentionally alienating their kids from the other parent or it’s an unintentional result of negative interactions in the home, it’s important to help children reconnect with their other parent and to prevent the alienation from continuing.

What are some early signs of parental alienation?

Some early signs may include:

  • Asking a parent to leave them alone or not attend a school event
  • Being shut out of parent-teacher conferences
  • Oppositional-defiant or oppositional disorder in a child who previously had no symptoms
  • A child admits to wanting the other parent to leave them alone but won’t acknowledge manipulation
  • Having a child who is unable to remember any previous good times with the alienated parent

These are all scary actions when they’re coming from your child. Fortunately, you can work with your attorney and other professionals to tackle this situation and find a resolution.