What is parental alienation and what are the signs of it?

On Behalf of | Oct 12, 2021 | Child Custody |

Every year, many parents in Texas split up and have to go through the court to establish child custody. Sadly, sometimes, there might be an issue that leads to parental alienation. This often happens when a divorce or a split between unmarried parents is bitter instead of amicable.

What is parental alienation?

Parental alienation can happen when a couple gets a divorce or splits up and the child sees one parent more favorably than the other. Usually, the alienation occurs because of problems between the parents and one parent manipulates the child. This results in the other parent and the child suffering as their relationship deteriorates. Often, the parent who has primary child custody is the one who causes the alienation.

What are the levels of parental alienation?

There are different levels of parental alienation. If one parent has primary child custody and the other has visitation, there might be a mild form of alienation. The child may not want to see the other parent and might prefer to stay with the custodial parent all the time or have them visit with them.

Moderate parental alienation can see the child strongly lack the desire to see the alienated parent. When they visit with them, they often show anger and a lack of willingness to spend time with that parent.

The worst kind of parental alienation is the severe form. The child has no desire to see the parent and will try to do anything they can to avoid seeing them. They might even run away to avoid having to visit that parent.

Treatment for parental alienation

Depending on how severe a situation of parental alienation is, it might be treated in various ways. If the alienation is mild, it should be easier to deal with the situation. However, if things are really bad, the court may have to intervene and a judge may order the alienating parent to stop disparaging the other parent in front of the child.

A parenting coordinator can help by showing both parents how they can communicate in a calm, effective manner and co-parent so that the child can benefit.

With severe parental alienation, the child might have to be taken out of the alienating parent’s custody and placed with the other parent.

Parental alienation hurts everyone. A parent who finds that they are engaging in such behavior should recognize it and immediately stop.