When the marriage is over and the couple goes their separate ways, one of the most important things children deserve is a strong and healthy relationship with both parents. Unfortunately, some parents, in an effort to gain an edge, create situations where children have to choose sides or, in extreme situations, reject the other parent.
Parental alienation happens when either parent trains the child to denigrate the other parent. The eventual goal is usually to strain the relationship between the child and the other parent. Parental alienation is illegal, and the legal consequences can be severe.
Practices that amount to parental alienation
Parental alienation comes in multiple forms. In fact, it is one of the most overlooked forms of child abuse. Here are practices that can qualify as parental alienation:
- Deprecating the other parent in the presence of the child
- Interfering with an existing custody and visitation order
- Discouraging the child from establishing a relationship with the other parent
- Training the child to undermine the other parent
So how does parental alienation impact the child?
There is no benefit in making the child believe that one parent is evil, negligent or does not want anything to do with them.
Anxiety, depression and diminished self-esteem are some of the most noticeable effects of parental alienation on the child. And these psychological conditions tend to follow affected children into adulthood.
Parental alienation can also have the following long-term effects on the child:
- Unhealthy sense of entitlement and anger
- Difficulty establishing and maintaining work and personal relationships
- Conflict with authority
Parental alienation is dangerous to the child because it corrupts the child’s sense of reality. If the other parent is alienating you from your child, it is important that you take appropriate steps to address the issue and safeguard your child’s rights.