Divorce is notorious for custody battles. Parents fight over who gets the children, how often and when. More conflict arises over unexpected schedule changes, children who want to live with one parent and altered life circumstances.
Instead of cooperating to find a solution best for the children, some parents attempt to make their children hostile to the other parent. This behavior is called parental alienation or hostile aggressive parenting.
Parental alienation entails more than just your ex talking negatively about you in front of the kids. It involves manipulating your children into believing you are the enemy in order to damage the relationship you have. Your kids could come to truly hate you and think the feelings are their own. Continued long-term, it has severe psychological effects that last through adulthood.
Signs of parental alienation
It is natural for your children to have a hard time adjusting to divorce and act resentfully or rebelliously. However, if they develop parental alienation syndrome, they may exhibit the following signs:
- Lacking the desire to be with you at all
- Having uneasiness or fear around you
- Showing uncharacteristic hostility
- Defending your ex
- Knowing intimate details about your marriage and divorce
- Blaming you for everything
Your ex may also falsely accuse you of abusing the children or refuse to follow the visitation schedule or to communicate with you. All these actions are about vengeance and control.
Solutions for parental alienation
Sometimes alienation is not intentional. Some divorced parents resort to juvenile survival skills to cope. Others think they are being helpful, such as offering to rescue the children if they feel homesick instead of encouraging time with the other parent. If you notice signs, talk to your ex first to see if he or she realizes the behavior. If your
If you notice signs, talk to your ex first to see if the behavior is conscious. If your ex denies it or the behavior escalates, you may wish to consult a professional in psychological or legal matters for assistance. But remember that when it comes to custody, keeping your children away from your ex without legal approval will only harm your case.