Divorce, in and of itself, can be a stressful life experience, but it can get even harder if you have minor children. Amidst the emotional rollercoaster that characterizes some divorces, it is not uncommon for one or both parents to try to attempt to “win the kids’ favor” through emotional manipulation.
Sometimes, this kind of emotional manipulation can escalate to the point of parental alienation. So, what do you do if you are an alienated parent?
Looking out for the signs of parental alienation
At the very basic, parental alienation happens when one or both parents manipulate the child to develop cold feet towards the other parent. This can happen in many ways, but the outcome is usually the same: to strain the relationship between the child and the alienated parent. Here are some of the signs you need to look out for if you believe your ex is alienating you from your child:
- Using the child to spy on you
- Discussing age-inappropriate details of the divorce with the child
- Instructing the child to undermine your authority
Whether intentional or otherwise, it’s important to understand that parental alienation has short-term and long-term effects on both the child and the alienated parent.
So, what do you do if your ex is manipulating your child?
Protect your child – Being alienated from your child can hurt, to say the least. However, do keep in mind that your child is a victim just as much as you are. If your ex is manipulating the child, do everything in your power to let your child know that you love them.
Document the alienation – if your ex is alienating you from your child, you need to take the matter up with the court. To prove your case, however, you need evidence. And this is where creating a journal of the specific alienating incidents comes in.
Parental alienation can have devastating effects on the child’s well-being. If your ex is alienating you from your child, it is wise to get help to examine your legal options.