What is Parental Alienation?

Parental alienation is the process of psychologically manipulating a child into showing fear, disrespect, anger, or hostility toward a parent. This process is generally instigated by the child’s other parent wishing to exclude the alienated (or “target”) parent from the child’s life. In addition, the parent engaging in this process may also be openly hostile to the target parent making co-parenting incredibly difficult. This process can destroy the target parent’s relationship with the child if the situation is not identified and dealt with quickly.

How do I know if my child’s other parent is attempting to cause parental alienation?

There are a number of signs to look out for, including:

  1. Telling the child he or she has a choice in whether to attend parenting time with the target parent;
  2. Refusing to allow the child to bring personal items back and forth between the parents’ homes;
  3. Providing the child with “adult information” such as what is happening in a divorce or custody proceeding;
  4. Blaming the target parent for things like breaking up the family, money issues, or why a child is unable to do an activity;
  5. Making plans or other activities during the target parent’s parenting time in order to make the child choose who he or she wants to spend time with;
  6. Making the child spy on or provide information about the target parent.