When dealing with divorce, it is often easy to forget that you need to watch out for your child’s mental well-being. After all, divorce is hard on every person in the family and not just the couple splitting.
Unfortunately, a parent might even use this lapse in attention to try alienating you from your child. This is parental alienation and it is a huge risk.
Behavioral changes during parental alienation
The Psychiatric Times discusses the possibility of parental alienation. This involves one parent – the alienating parent – trying to pry you and your child apart. They do this through the use of potentially abusive tactics like gaslighting and manipulation. This is why the court often describes parental alienation as a form of child psychological abuse.
Because of the potential devastation it can do to your child, you want to act as soon as you notice the signs. To notice them, you need to know what you are looking for. The first will likely be behavioral changes that can range from mild to strong. For example, they may grow more sullen or more irritable. They could withdraw and show symptoms of depression. They might instead lash out at others and reject authority figures.
On top of that, they could grow increasingly critical of you in small ways. For example, they may suddenly take issue with how you keep your house clean. They might reject dishes that they once enjoyed eating. They could have criticism for small things you do, including how you interact with others.
Of course, the biggest sign is when a child refuses to spend time with you. If you notice any of these things happening, it might indicate parental alienation.