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Are You a Victim of Parental Alienation?

 Posted on November 14, 2013 in Divorce

With a large number of divorced parents remaining in conflict, many children are at risk for psychosocial problems.  One of these problems is parental alienation.  Parental alienation is a situation where a child exhibits an unjustified anger or distain for a parent due to the vilifying of that parent to the child by the other parent.  The noncustodial parent is typically the target.

Clearly, the target parent is being harmed.  Their relationship with the child is being damaged and the time lost with that child can never be regained.  But parental alienation has consequences to the child as well.  According to information Our Family Wizard, parental alienation can be a factor in psychological and behavioral issues for the child, including drug and alcohol abuse, eating disorders, mood disorders, depression, anxiety, and panic attacks.

An article by Douglas Darnall, Ph. D. lists risk factors for parental alienation.  Recognizing early signs of alienation will allow for intervention before the behavior gets worse.  Some of these include:

  • Visits are withheld.  While some flexibility is necessary for mutual harmony, allowing visitation rights to be slowly eroded is not acceptable.  Setting the tone for expectations early on is important.
  • A parent interferes with a reasonable number of phone calls.  Regular communication with the child is important, and if the noncustodial parent is acting to impede that communication, parental alienation could result.
  • Children begin refusing visits.  This could be as simple as the child not wanting to miss spending time with their friends.  But it could be more serious.  The custodial parent could be coercing or guilting the child into refusing visits.

If you or someone you know is experiencing parental alienation, it is important to understand your rights.  A qualified attorney can assist you.  Contact an experienced Illinois attorney today, with offices in Lombard or Arlington Heights.

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