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What You Need to Know About Parental Alienation

 Posted on January 12, 2018 in Family Law

Lombard family law attorneyThe term “parental alienation” refers to the process through which a person psychologically manipulates a child into having ill feelings toward their parent. This most often occurs when parents divorce or separate. Parental alienation is a form of psychological abuse and it can be devastating to both the child and his or her parents. There is even evidence to suggest that a child who has been manipulated in this way will have a higher chance of mental and physical illness. Parental alienation is inexcusable.

Why and How Does Parental Alienation Occur?

Parental alienation most often happens to children whose parents are separating or divorcing. Of course, it can also be an issue for children of parents who were never married to one another. When the parents are in conflict, they can start to bring their child or children into the conflict. A parent who is jealous or angry toward the other parent begins to encourage their child to take “their side.”

Some parents directly alienate the other parent by sharing inappropriate or misleading information with their child. For example, a mother who is angry with a father may tell her child that the father is the reason that the family is falling apart. She may share information about infidelity or financial concerns with the child and encourage him or her to blame the father. Children are often not capable of understanding complex adult relationships, nor should they have to do so. When a parent actively attempts to create hostility between a child and his or her parent, this is considered parental alienation. Indirect parental alienation occurs when a parent or guardian fails to support the child having a relationship with the other parent.

Parental alienation often creates a perpetuating cycle. One parent convinces the child, either through lies, exaggerations, manipulation, or sabotage, that the other parent is “bad” or does not care about the child. The child internalizes this false narrative and begins to act more distantly or hostilely to the alienated parent. The alienated parent then, either consciously or subconsciously, withdraws from the child—making the situation even worse. An overwhelming amount of research shows that children thrive when both of their parents are involved in their life. Denying a child their right to have a close relationship with a parent is deeply hurtful to the child. The despicable act of parental alienation is often considered abuse for this very reason.

Our Family Law Attorneys Can Help

At A. Traub & Associates, we know that parental alienation is hurtful and unacceptable. We will work hard to help you in creating a custody and parenting plan which is fair to all parties, and we protect your rights as a parent. Contact one of our experienced Lombard family law attorneys for a confidential consultation today.



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