Parental alienation is one of those topics that parents do not like to talk about. Many parents feel embarrassed if they are prevented from seeing their child after a separation or divorce. Parents worry that others will judge them, assuming that they must be at fault if they cannot see their children.
Lots of people assume that if parental alienation has taken place the parent who is not having contact with the children must have done something ‘’bad’’. However, the definition of parental alienation is one parent turning the mind of a child against the other parent and the child’s negative view of the parent not being justified by any parental behaviour but because of the deliberate or unintentional psychological manipulation of the child.
Top tips on how to deal with parental alienation
Sometimes it is obvious to everyone involved with a child, from family to schoolteachers and health professionals, that parental alienation is taking place. In other families, the process is more subtle but just as insidious.
For parents who fear parental alienation is taking place there are some tips on how to deal with parental alienation and maintain a relationship with your child.
As a specialist Cheshire children solicitor who advises parents in high conflict court cases, I recommend that you:
- Take legal advice quickly
If you think, your ex-partner or former husband or wife is talking inappropriately in front of your child and that is creating tension in the relationship between you and your child it is important to act quickly. If you wait then the situation may get to the stage that the child is so alienated that they say that they do not want to have contact with you.
If you are not able to speak to your former partner direct then you could try speaking to a family member or you could suggest a referral to family mediation or to family counselling. If those options do not solve the difficulties, do not delay in taking legal advice and looking at the option of applying for a child arrangements order.
If you delay in taking action then if the parental alienation behaviour continues it will become harder to resolve the situation and repair the psychological damage experienced by your child.
- Do not blame the child
It is normal to think ‘’my daughter is behaving just like her mother’’ or to say ‘’ the apple does not fall far from the tree’’. When a child is playing up or refusing to speak to or see you, it is easy to transfer your frustration with the situation onto the child. After all, why can’t your child stand up for themselves and demand more contact with you or why can’t they at least look cheerful when they do see you. As frustrating as it is, blaming a child or showing your exasperation with the situation is likely to make the situation worse.
- Do not blame the parent
When you get frustrated about parental alienation, it is easy to think that the solution is to tell your side of the story. In the process, you are likely to denigrate the other parent, and that is likely to make your child more insecure and anxious, and less inclined to have contact.
- Do not walk away
The statistics of how many parents lose contact with their children after a separation or divorce is appalling. Many of those cases do not involve parental alienation but nonetheless it is sometimes easy to think that your child would be ‘’better off’’ without you.
Most children law professionals believe that a child needs and deserves a loving relationship with both parents, even if that has to be achieved through the making of a child arrangements order.
- Find time for other things in your life
If you experience parental alienation, it is easy to obsess on your ex-partner and their behaviour. By doing that you can play into their hands. It is important that you find time to enjoy other aspects of your life during any children court proceedings.
What will the court do if it thinks that parental alienation has taken place?
If you make an application for a child arrangements order the court will carefully consider whether contact is in your child’s best interests. If a child is saying that they do not want contact because of parental alienation, the court can take some proactive steps to try to help you build a relationship with your child. In extreme situations, where a judge finds that the parental alienation has caused emotional harm and that the primary carer dos not understand the damage created by their actions, the judge can make an order to change the primary carer of the child.
How can Evolve Family Law help you?
Evolve Family Law is a niche family law firm with offices in Cheshire and Whitefield, Manchester. Evolve Family Law solicitors provide advice on all aspects of family law. Our solicitors at Evolve are specialists in children or family finance law.
Whatever your children or family law concern, Louise Halford and the children law team at Evolve Family Law solicitors will work with you to help you reach a solution.
To contact Louise Halford call her on +44 (0) 1477 464020 or email her at [email protected]