When you got divorced, you knew it would be hard on your entire family, especially your kids. Because of the demands of your job and other outside factors, you and your ex decided that she would have custody of your children during the week and you would have them on the weekends. A plan that seemed to work for everyone soon became riddled with inconsistencies in your child’s behavior. Your once excitable eight-year-old now seems to resent you and every choice you make.
You try to connect with him but he continues to push you away. Until he lets it out: “Mommy said you…” And that’s all you need to hear.
Parental alienation is a large problem for many divorced parents. In the children’s psychological study, “Children held hostage: Dealing with programmed and brainwashed children,” the researchers found that over a 12-year study, some 20% of parents manipulate their children in some way.
If you believe you are losing your children’s trust and love as a result of parental alienation, contact Kalinoski Law Offices, P.C. today.
What is Parental Alienation?
Parental alienation occurs when one parent uses strategies like brainwashing, alienating, or programming, to distance a child from the other parent. When this sort of manipulation occurs, the child may feel fear of discipline or guilt due to this parent’s abuse.
Many child custody courts will call parental alienation a form of abuse and if a pattern of the behaviors emerges, it can determine a custody ruling if the child is being neglected.
There are signs that can present themselves that the abuse is occurring. These include:
- Your child constantly and unfairly criticizes you.
- Your child cannot formulate why they feel those critiques are valid.
- Your child has nothing positive to say about you.
- Your child denies someone is saying these things, and that they have come to the conclusion on their own.
- Your child shows favoritism towards your ex.
- Your child doesn’t feel guilty about mistreating or hating you.
- Your child is using more adult language that they don’t understand and is referring to situations they were not involved in.
- Your child begins to show hatred for your family including grandparents, aunts and uncles, etc.
While you may feel like you have done something wrong, what you may not realize is that behind closed doors, your ex is manipulating your child. Not only is emotional manipulation taking place, but your ex may also be taking advantage of your custody agreement.
Parental Alienation and Custody
You know your kids, so you can tell when something is wrong. But how it happened is often the part that makes proving parental alienation is occurring difficult. Common behaviors exhibited by parents who alienate their children from their ex include:
- Preventing the child to visit the other parent and bending custody rules.
- Insisting all of the child’s personal belongings stay with the custodial parent.
- Planning activities meant to sway the child to skip out on a visit (such as family vacations, impromptu trips, etc.)
- Limiting contact throughout the week such as monitoring texts, calls, etc.
While all of these behaviors are meant to hurt you and not the child, unfortunately, they ultimately impact your child’s welfare. When you begin to notice these changes, it’s important to maintain your composure, ask questions when you can, and document what you know.
While some parental alienation cases may become a custody modification battle, in others, it can be a sign of abuse and neglect occurring.
How to Prove Parental Alienation
Remember, one snide remark by your ex isn’t enough to take him or her to court. But when a pattern of behavior is established, you may have a case.
In order to prove parental alienation is occurring, you need:
- Witnesses. While you may experience alienation, your child may be able to tell you what the other parent is saying. It’s important to remember that your child may not understand they are being manipulated. In addition, if friends and family witness the behavior occurring, make a note of it.
- Documentation. If you and your ex communicate, keep records of everything. Though he or she may not outwardly admit it, sometimes the truth slips out.
- Therapy. If your child already sees a counselor as part of the divorce healing, let the counselor or therapist know you think something is going on.
- Litigation. If you are not getting anywhere, and you feel like the manipulation is becoming abusive, you need legal counsel.
Let Kalinoski Law Offices, P.C. Represent You.
You love your kids and don’t want them to feel hurt and betrayed by you, for something that may not have even occurred. If you suspect parental alienation is occurring, you deserve justice and your child deserves to be loved fully. At Kalinoski Law Offices, P.C., we will take your ex to court and review what options are best for the well-being of your child. Contact us today for a free consultation.