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5 Signs of Potential Parental Alienation

5 Signs of Potential Parental Alienation

By Dr. John Stiteler, PsyDN

 Currently there is no legally established definition or guidance for parental alienation within the court system. Nor are there any diagnostic criteria developed by the psychological community for this issue.  However, I can assure you that parental alienation is real. The core issue in parental alienation is the manipulation of a child by one parent against the other. This most often occurs in family situations that have experienced divorce or separation.  The results can be devastating not only to the child and the alienated parent, but eventually to the parent doing the alienation.

Sometimes a parent may engage in alienation behavior without even realizing they are doing it, while other times a parent may be actively attempting to alienate the other parent.  In the first case, the alienator desires the child have a positive relationship with the other parent, but may sometimes make subtle comments that lead to alienation, such as: “Tell your mom not to be late next time.” Active alienators, on the other hand, will do things such as scream at the other parent in front of the child or use emotional manipulation to get the child on his or her side. In either case, here are 5 signs that parental alienation may be happening to your child:

  1. Child shuts you out from parts of his/her life (“Can you not come to my recital?”)
  2. Child blocks all past positive experiences and bonding times (“I’ve never had any fun with you at all”).
  3. Child has a black and white perspective (one parent is all good while the other is all bad).
  4. The child begins to sound just like the alienator (he/she repeats words or phrases of the alienator without fully understanding their meaning).
  5. The child takes a sudden, negative view towards the people and activities of the alienated parent when there was previously a positive attitude (“I hate your friends” or “Bowling is so stupid.”)

If you are the victim of parental alienation, here is a great resource for you to consider:

Wednesdays  12-1 pm         Starts  6/17/20        Ends    7/29/20

This virtual support group will allow alienated parents to share their grief, hurt, anger, and pain in a safe, non-judgmental environment while remaining focused on the areas that are within our control.

For more information on parental alienation, or to enroll in this support group, call our office at 321-332-6984.

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