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What to watch for if you suspect parental alienation

On Behalf of | Apr 29, 2024 | Family Law

Parental alienation can deeply affect the relationship between a child and a parent. You must recognize the signs so you can take appropriate action.

There are key indicators of parental alienation you can look for and steps you can take to address this challenging situation.

Changes in the child’s behavior towards the parent

One of the first signs of parental alienation is a noticeable change in the child’s behavior towards one parent. This might include unexplained anger, hostility or a sudden reluctance to spend time with the parent. The child might also repeat negative comments or express unjustified hatred toward the alienated parent.

Parroting the alienating parent’s words

Children experiencing parental alienation often use phrases and ideas that are uncharacteristic for their age, and that closely mimic the alienating parent’s views. These statements typically lack detail and seem rehearsed. The child might make accusations that align closely with the alienating parent’s grievances during or after a divorce.

Rejection of extended family

Parental alienation can extend beyond the immediate parent-child relationship. The child may also reject the alienated parent’s family, refusing to visit or communicate with grandparents, aunts, uncles or cousins whom they previously enjoyed. This broader isolation is often a red flag that the issue stems from alienation tactics.

The child’s reasons for alienation seem trivial or baseless

When discussing their feelings, children might offer weak, trivial or absurd reasons for disliking or hating the alienated parent. These reasons often do not justify the intense negative feelings they express and suggest that their beliefs may not be their own.

Steps to take if you suspect parental alienation

If you suspect that your child is being subjected to parental alienation, it is important to address the situation calmly and legally. Document instances of alienating behavior and the effects on the child. Seek professional help from a therapist who specializes in family relationships and parental alienation syndrome. Consulting with a family law attorney can help you understand your legal options to address the manipulation and restore the parent-child relationship.

Addressing parental alienation promptly and effectively can prevent lasting damage to the relationship between the child and the alienated parent. Recognizing these signs allows for earlier intervention and a more positive outcome for all involved.


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