Parental alienation happens when one parent uses manipulation to destroy the positive relationship the other parent has with the children. According to Psychology Today, this parenting tactic often qualifies as psychological child abuse. It can be equally devastating for the alienated parent, of course.
If you suspect your ex-spouse may be trying to sabotage you, it is important to put your anger and sadness aside. After all, you may have a limited time both to stop the parental alienation and to repair your damaged parent-child relationships.
Recognize parental alienation
Unlike some types of child abuse, parental alienation is not always easy to recognize. Put differently, parental alienation may come in a variety of forms. Still, if your ex-spouse does any of the following, you may have a serious issue to address:
- Tells your kids you are mean, untrustworthy or a bad parent
- Asks your children to keep tabs on you
- Discourages your kids from spending time with you
- Excluding you from traditional parental activities
- Demanding your kids disobey you
Document parental alienation
If you are the victim of parental alienation, it is advisable to gather as much evidence about it as possible. Voicemails, text messages and e-mails from your ex- and your kids may be helpful. Likewise, you may want to ask for statements from teachers, relatives, social workers or counselors.
Ask for a change
It may be advantageous to ask your ex-spouse to change his or her behaviors. If that does not work, you may want to explore family counseling. You may need to seek judicial intervention eventually, though.
Ultimately, because parental alienation runs counter to the best interests of your kids, a judge is not likely to allow it to continue.