A family’s future tends to be uncertain in the wake of a divorce. It is difficult to predict how you are your children will carry the emotional burden, especially if your spouse performs malicious acts throughout proceedings.
Parental alienation is one example of manipulative behavior that can seriously affect you and your divorce case. For your own well-being, and that of your child, it is important to know how to recognize parental alienation and the impact it may have.
Signs of parental alienation
Parental alienation can occur before, during or after a divorce as a method of one spouse turning their child against the other spouse. If your child unexpectedly spends less time with you or begins to regard you negatively, your spouse might be responsible. Some ways in which a parent might try to sway a child’s opinion include:
- Speaking badly about a spouse in front of the child
- Casting blame for the divorce
- Urging the child to choose one parent over the other
The effects of abusive behavior
The National Center for State Courts describes parental alienation as a form of emotional child abuse. This can cause long-term harm to a child’s mental health, manifesting as a lack of self-confidence and an inability to maintain meaningful relationships later in life. On a more immediate level, parental alienation can fracture the relationship you have with your child in a way that can become impossible to repair completely.
You should mention any suspicions you harbor about parental alienation to your divorce lawyer. Making the presence of abuse known could be necessary for protecting your child from further harm.