Separating from your one-time partner is almost never easy or seamless, but it can prove even more complicated when the two of you share children. While some couples are able to easily navigate co-parenting relationships, others have a tough time doing so, and in extreme cases, one parent may make efforts to try and turn a child against the other parent.
Parental alienation can take on any number of different forms, and while it may cause problems for you by potentially turning your child against you, it can also have negative effects on your child.
Examples of parental alienation
So, what might parental alienation look like? In some cases, it may involve your child’s other parent bad-mouthing you either directly to, or in the presence of, your child with the intent of making your child share your former partner’s sentiments. For example, your child’s other parent may tell your child that you were unable to attend, say, a school or sports event because you did not care enough to do so, even if you were actually at work and unable to get away. Your child’s other parent may also, for example, try to give your child the impression that you are dangerous and that he or she might be better off not spending time with you. Parental alienation may also include your child’s other parent limiting his or her contact with you, or forbidding your child from talking to or about you in the other parent’s presence.
The impact on the child
Nowadays, many people see parental alienation as a form of mental abuse, and it can have sizable negative effects on your child. Studies show that parental alienation can lead to feelings of depression or low self-esteem among children, and it can also make them more likely to abuse substances and less likely to trust people later in life.
If you suspect your child is a victim of parental alienation, speak up. Growing up in such an environment has the capacity to affect your child negatively for the remainder of his or her life.