When two people break up, it is quite rare for the relationship to remain cordial usually as a result of the nature of the break-up.
Even when both parties are satisfied with how things ended, we usually like to let bygones be bygones and keep our exes in our past. In cases where a child is involved, however, things can quickly get complicated.
A child is a product of the consummation of a relationship, and ideally, for the sake of the child, both parties should try to keep things as friendly as possible. Divorces and separations have been found to affect children in many ways, which often include feelings of loss, anger, confusion, and anxiety- just to name a few.
In addition to this, one parent may want to take the full reins of the family and make the dreadful mistake of turning their children against their co-parent. Maybe they're still bitter about how the relationship ended.
However, regardless of the reason, here are some ways to know if there’s any parental alienation going on in your family.
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Have you noticed that they don’t seem so enthusiastic about watching their favorite cartoon with you anymore? Or going to the movies? These are early signs that something may be wrong. You might want to make efforts to address this by asking why your children do not seem happy around you.
It is usually not about the activity but about the person they are doing it with. You might want to be cautious here though, it could be that your teenage boy has just outgrown playing catch on Saturday mornings and would prefer to text or scroll through social media. As with most things that have to do with children, your parental instincts should guide you on what’s really wrong.
Your daughter got an award at school last Wednesday and you know nothing about it but your ex does? That is a problem. Like I said in the introduction, once a child is involved, two adults should know to keep their differences aside to cater for the welfare of the child.
Parental alienation starts when one parent wants to take advantage of child custody or the child support ruling by the court. The alienating parent will start by telling the children not to tell you certain things. The more they keep to themselves, the less time they’ll want to spend with you.
If you do notice a change in behavior in your child, it is only natural for you to question the child on what the matter is. Be careful not to accost them, so they do not feel overwhelmed and you do not get a withdrawal instead of confirmation that there’s parental alienation.
One way to confirm that your child is being turned against you is an inconspicuous lack of regret or feelings in the child’s expression. You’ll notice that even if you have child custody, the alienating parent uses the time he has with the children to make them feel like you’re the villain.
Once their minds are poisoned, they’ll feel less bad about not connecting with you or respecting you.
If the child refuses to visit your extended family as well, this is another tell-tale sign your Ex may be poisoning their minds. An ex will hardly talk about you, without mentioning the flaws of your family as well, and that is sure to affect the child’s perception of your family as a whole.
You’ll notice certain indicators of parental alienation when they no longer love your side of the family. The children will slowly start believing that your entire family, including you, are a threat to them.
Being denied visits to your child is an obvious form of parental alienation. Here, one parent is trying to physically isolate the child from the other, even though family law doesn’t permit that. Except the court rules differently, both parents share child custody, the capable parent pays child support and both are allowed ample time with the children.
There are some cases where family law allows one parent more custody while the other just pays child support, that’s when either one of them is found unsuitable to raise that child. However, there’s parental alienation if one spouse tries to get more time with the kids, and persuades them to spend less time with you.
Parental alienation gets worse when the kids won’t admit they are being manipulated. If you ask them, they won’t implicate your partner in any way. But you’ll hear his words in their conversations, and know they couldn’t have come up with such ‘accusations’ or insults on their own.
In cases where the child knows that they are protecting the parent, they would blindly refuse to admit what’s really going on and their stories will not add up.
Amidst all these if you notice that the child has been acting poorly/differently around you and has no solid reasons for this behavior, they are most likely being turned against you. The best way around this problem is usually to patiently talk to the child. You may also have to talk to your ex and let him know he’s not being a good parent by trying to turn the kids against you.
Have you noticed that they always jump to the other parents’ defense? Even with seemingly trivial issues? This is a sign that the child may be feeling protective of the other parent and may show that parental alienation syndrome is at work. That means your children may start to foster resentment, anger, and fear towards you.
Do not confront the child in this case. It is risky to do so as they already feel defensive. Help them feel at ease and preferably help them see that you do not harbor negative feelings against your co-parent. Remember that your positive attitude could change everything, so try not to get frustrated. Encourage your child to think of both of you as a team, rather than rivals.
We all like to go down memory lane with our loved ones once in a while. It helps us appreciate the relationships that we have and the history that you’ve shared with someone. This can be especially true with your child. However, if you notice that they are not open to discussing good memories, it is because they do not think of you in the light of that memory anymore.
They also may not want to talk about those good memories because they do not remember them. It is possible for a person’s (especially a child’s) mind to block out information that contradicts what he wants to believe about someone else. This is because the brain is a natural protector.
He’ll take everything the other parent says and forget all the good times you shared together. Rather than trying to focus too much on the past, maybe focus on building new memories with your child. Make an attempt to let them see you in a different light. Actions are always way more powerful than anything you could try to say to jog up their memory.
You need to take a two-edged approach here. You can form a better relationship with your child, in order to stop any further brainwashing. Do this by engaging with them more frequently and paying attention to their needs. You also want to talk to your ex and educate them on the effects of parental alienation on a child. Remind him about the provisions of family law, especially when the court didn’t rule badly against any parent.
• Some of the signs of parental alienation are:
• The child avoids you for no good reason.
• The child feels no remorse for their change in attitude.
• The child feels bad after spending time with you.
• The child does not want to associate with your side of the family.
• Your Ex speaks badly about you in front of them.
• Your Ex shows negative body language.
Yes. It is very possible for a parent to brainwash a child.
No, it is not. Telling your child to shut up can stifle their confidence and self-esteem. It can also negatively affect their creativity.
It happens, but no, it is not normal. You can dislike some parts of your child’s character, or even find them annoying, but disliking a child may be your problem and not theirs.
We hope you enjoyed the list and will use it to identify when your child may be turning against you. The bond between a parent and child is very important and will help the child in building healthy relationships and enjoying their lives. Have you been a victim of parental alienation? Let us know in the comment section below. Please like and share this article if you enjoyed it or found it useful.