By Mike Stetzer
The divorce process can be an emotionally and mentally difficult period for both you and your children. One of the most important things you can do as a divorced parent is avoid alienating your children from your ex-spouse and your child's other parent.
Parental alienation is when a child is turned away from one parent, usually because of actions or words of the other parent. Things said and done can attribute to a child's indifference or hostility toward your former spouse.
Naturally, this can be painful and damaging for children. And many parents going through a divorce engage in some level of alienating behavior, even if they don't mean to. Learn the signs of parental alienation and how to protect your children.
At some point, most divorced parents practice some alienating behaviors. Depending on how and when the behaviors occur will determine if they are problematic.
Low-level or mild alienators generally act with the best interest of the child in mind. Parents who have mild alienation behaviors tend to be cooperative with the other parent, share children's medical and school information, while trying to keep their interests separate from their children's. Parents with occasional moments of alienation may suggest with words or actions that the other parent has committed some fault or should be blamed for something.
Mid-level or moderate alienators tend to alienate the children from their ex-spouses more actively and more consistently than mild alienators. Some suggest that excessive emotional hurt, anger or resentment toward an ex-spouse causes moderate alienators to lash out, verbally bashing former spouses in front of the kids. They tend to recognize their children's best interest but don't always act in it. For example, they may be less flexible with sharing time with children.
High-level or severe alienators engage in an active, conscious campaign to alienate their children from their ex-spouses. They try to align children's views with their own and may insist that they're protecting their children, even if the other spouse has presented no threat to the children.
After a divorce, helping your children maintain a healthy relationship with both parents can be difficult. Be aware of the following common alienating behaviors and try working to avoid them from your daily routine so you can help your children recover emotionally from your divorce.
Keep in mind that these behaviors can make divorce even more difficult for children. Modifying your behavior may be difficult, but with a concentrated effort, you may prevent yourself from alienating your children from your ex-spouse or yourself.
Discuss how to protect your relationship with your children with a local divorce lawyer. Learn how to handle the legal aspects of divorce without involving your children in something that isn't their fault. Call 877-349-1310 or fill out a divorce case review form to connect with a divorce attorney near you today.
The above summary of parental alienation is by no means all-inclusive and is not intended to provide legal advice. Laws may have changed since our last update. For the latest information on parental alienation issues, speak to a divorce attorney in your area.