Parental alienation is common amongst couples going through a divorce or separation with children. In many cases, one parent may use alienation as a weapon to gain more (or full) custody or visitation rights. An alienating parent usually shows signs of narcissistic tendencies or a borderline personality disorder, and therefore will do what’s best for themselves without considering the needs of anyone else. In the process, they may feed your children lies to manipulate them into “choosing” your spouse over you. It’s important to remember that parental alienation or any sort of negative manipulation of your children is a type of abuse, so if you find yourself in this situation, don’t fight fire with fire.
To help you be proactive in your approach we have outlined below a few tips on how to recognize the signs of parental alienation and how to properly deal with it.
What are the signs?
There are many warning signs of parental alienation you should be aware of if you are going through a divorce. Some of those signs include:
- Your spouse is making no effort to communicate with you: Regardless of how you and your spouse feel about each other during the divorce or separation, you still need to communicate with one another if you want to successfully co-parent your children.
- Your children suddenly want to spend less time with you or have become more argumentative: This is a big one. If you notice a drastic change in your relationship with your kids, but not with your partner, this could mean your spouse is alienating your children. Especially if your children have started requesting not to visit you as much or at all. A little bit of anger is typical amongst kids with parents who are getting divorced, however, when that anger is only directed at one parent, this is a red flag.
- Your children know more about the divorce than you thought: If your kids are coming to you with information you haven’t told them about the divorce, this could mean your spouse is using them as a way to vent about what is (or isn’t) happening.
- Your spouse undermines your authority: If your spouse is constantly undermining your parenting decisions and allowing the kids to do the opposite of what you’ve told them, your spouse is alienating you from your children. Again, to successfully co-parent your children, you need to communicate and be on the same page about all parenting decisions.
What can you do about parental alienation?
If you are confident that your spouse is alienating you from your children, it’s extremely important to not engage in the same behaviour. Playing mind games with your children to win over their affection is never appropriate. Instead, seek professional advice and representation from a lawyer who specializes in child custody. At Galbraith Family Law, we’ve heard and seen it all when it comes to custody disputes and we understand what you are going through. With our knowledgeable and professional team of family lawyers, we can help you protect the relationship you have with your children. Call us today to schedule a meeting at (705) 999-4438 and let us walk you through your next steps. We’re in this together.