Your relationship with your children could become more complex following a divorce. Most parents expect their kids to have trouble accepting and processing the idea of their parents breaking up. After all, they must adjust to two different households and a changing family dynamic. While kids may act out or argue with their parents naturally, there is a difference between a child attempting to process a major life change and a child who became a victim of parental alienation.
WebMD explains the concept of parental alienation as the child hating and rejecting one parent with no justifiable reason.
How does one parent alienate the other?
In parental alienation, one parent controls the strings of the relationship between parent and child. Your ex may try to bring the kids to his or her side by describing private details about your relationship or lying about different aspects of the relationship to force your kids to judge you. The alienating parent may attempt to disrupt visitation and time with your children.
Parental alienation is a manipulation tactic where one parent manipulates the children into feeling a sense of shame or guilt for wanting to spend time with their other parent.
What are the symptoms of parental alienation?
While children may act out and say things they regret, children under parental alienation do not feel guilt or shame. They may act out angrily towards you without justifiable reason for having unwavering respect and understanding for the other parent. They may ask you to keep it secret when they have fun with you. Alienated children may also hide from you or resist any contact with you because they want to stay with the other parent.
To overcome parental alienation, therapy and other professional help may be necessary to help children overcome it.