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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.”

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Lombard family law attorneysWhile, for some, divorce can completely sever all marital ties, those that share children always share a connection – namely, their child. This is as it should be since, under most circumstances, children benefit greatly from having two loving parents in their lives. Unfortunately, the continued connection between divorced parents is not always a healthy one. Some may still experience contention and other problematic issues, such as parental alienation and visitation interference. The following can help parents cope with such situations, and it provides some valuable insight on your legal rights.

When Contentiousness Abounds

Generally, parents with excessive conflict are encouraged to develop a parenting plan that limits their contact. Of course, as life changes and children grow, the original parenting plan may be difficult to adhere to, even for the most well-intentioned parents. If contentiousness is still an issue when the parenting plan starts to collapse, frustration and stress may reach an all-time high. If left unchecked, this could lead to serious arguments, bitter exchanges, and a child that feels as though they are trapped in the middle. To avoid this all-too-common issue, parents may want to use mediation to renegotiate their parenting plan so they can develop one that works amidst all the changes.

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parental alienation, child custody, Illinois family law attorneyWhen you have separated from or divorced your child’s other parent, you know how difficult cooperation with him or her can be. As most parents in similar situations have discovered, the challenge often lies in keeping the negative feelings you may have toward your ex-partner, valid as they may be, from interfering with your child’s relationship with the other parent. This type of interference is known as parental alienation, and can present serious problems for divorced or unmarried parents, as it may affect a parent’s rights to custody of the child.

Understanding Parental Alienation

Children fare best when they have the love and support of both parents, regardless of the relationship between adults. Sometimes, however, the relationship between the parents is allowed by one or both adults to directly affect the child’s view of and relationship with the other parent. Parental alienation is estimated to be a factor in up to 15 percent of divorces involving children. While not always intentional or necessarily severe, the impact can be serious, not only on the parent-child relationship, but on the child’s own mental health.

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Posted on 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:

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