There is a growing population of children and parents who have become estranged or alienated from each other due to the actions and behaviors of another parent. This phenomenon, called parental alienation syndrome, results in some long-term consequences for the alienated parent and the child caught in the middle.
Understand some of the warning signs to help stop this malicious behavior before it gets worse.
Inciting anger toward one parent
The process of alienating a child from the other parent may begin in a seemingly benign way. A child may start to hear one parent make disparaging remarks about the other. There is usually an element of anger toward the other parent that may appear natural due to the negative emotions of the divorce. It may come in the form of comments about the other parent's financial or living situation. The child may start to feel some of the anger and frustration expressed by the alienating parent.
Speaking to the child about adult issues
The parent who is attempting to split the relationship between the child and other parent may also confide inappropriate details about the other parent with the child. Talking to kids about the details of a failed marriage or new relationships is highly inappropriate.
Sharing negative information with the child
After a divorce, there may exist some powerful and negative information about the relationship and the other parent. Making these negative comments to a child only plants the seed that this is a correct assessment of their other parent.
Making co-parenting impossible
When dealing with a toxic person, it becomes almost impossible to achieve any kind of cooperation. Co-parenting children with someone who is attempting to alienate children from a parent may not be feasible at all. It may be necessary to address the behavior through the legal system to keep from losing the parent-child relationship.