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Advocating For You

What are some signs of parental alienation?

After a divorce, you may worry about how to deal with an ex-spouse who is hostile or aggressive towards you.

This person may even end up using your child against you in order to ruin your relationship with him or her.

Emotional manipulation

According to Real Simple, parental alienation is the act of one parent trying to turn a child against the other parent. One of the common signs is an ex-spouse who tries to manipulate your child into not visiting you or talking to you, whether in person or through email or phone calls. He or she may influence your child through favors in order to bribe the child to stay longer at his or her house, or may even spread lies about you.

This parent may also try to win the child over by allowing him or her to avoid doing homework or avoid going to sleep on time, which may cast you as the stricter parent. Having to step in and clarify boundaries or rules leads to an increasingly tense and bitter relationship with your child.

Lack of quality time

Your ex-spouse may also try to alienate you by purposefully withholding information. For example, he or she may not tell you about a recital at school or an important event in the child’s life. This lack of communication leads to less personal time with your child, and eventually, a strained relationship.

Disparaging statements

Your child may also hear negative or dismissive comments about you from your ex-spouse. If one parent constantly berates another in private in order to win over the affection of the child, it is usually a sign of purposeful parental alienation.