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How to recognize parental alienation

Parental alienation occurs when one parent manipulates their child to reject or harbor negative feelings toward the other parent. This behavior can have detrimental effects on the child’s emotional well-being and the parent-child relationship.

Recognizing the signs of parental alienation is crucial for addressing and preventing further harm.

Signs of parental alienation

You may first witness signs of parental alienation in how your children respond to you. Your children may have a high opinion of the other parent, but a low opinion of you. In fact, some kids who find themselves victims of parental alienation will make up accusations against the targeted parent.

Alienators will engage in negative or derogatory comments about you in front of your child. He or she may also stop your children from contacting you or will obstruct your communication in order to make the child believe you do not want contact.

Effects of parental alienation

Children subjected to parental alienation may have heightened levels of depression, anxiety and low self-esteem due to the constant conflict and manipulation. As such, their relationship with the targeted parent can become strained or severed, resulting in damage to trust and family dynamics.

Additionally, in families where parental alienation becomes prevalent, children may struggle with confusion towards the targeted parent. If they enjoy their time with the alienated parent, they may ask the parent to keep it secret due to the shame of betraying the alienator.

Interventions for parental alienation, such as mediation, co-parenting education and counseling, may help facilitate healthy communication between children and both of their parents.

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