Parental alienation involved the psychological manipulation of a child by one parent, against the other parent. This results in the child demonstrating animosity to the parent, for no justifiable reason, when they once had a healthy, loving relationship.
The concept of parental alienation is complicated and nuanced. It can involve contributions from both parties, and it is not always a deliberate campaign from one parent against the other. But, fairly often, there will be allegations that one parent has poisoned or manipulated the child against the other parent. This can include making offensive remarks, or in more severe cases, allegations that the parent has harmed or abused the child.
This type of behaviour is emotional abuse, and can have long term emotional effects on the child, and the parents involved.
Parental alienation can arise when a couple are going through a high-conflict divorce. As divorce lawyers we have some experience with parental alienation, and can offer some information about the issue.
How can you prevent it?
Sadly, there is no way to prevent parental alienation. All you can do is act if you are being prevented from having contact with your child. It is important to deal with the situation promptly, do not let too much time elapse. Speak to a family law specialist, or your divorce lawyer, if the issue arises as a result of a divorce.
What can you do about it?
As mentioned, addressing the issue with the partner, and a divorce lawyer or family lawyer is the first step. Early therapeutic involvement can also limit the damage caused by the breakdown of the relationship.
It is important not to let the situation spiral and deteriorate, this will do untold damage to the child. Parental alienation cases that have been taken to court have not always resulted in happy outcomes. Sometimes the relationship has been neglected for too long and is past the point of repair. So, reacting quickly to any signs of parental alienation is the best approach.