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Parental Alienation: When Parents Sabotage the Parent-Child Relationship

 Posted on December 23,2022 in Family Law

Markham Divorce LawyerSharing a child with an ex can be exceptionally complicated. Parents who used to be married or in a romantic relationship together often have unresolved feelings of resentment toward each other. Some parents can put these feelings to the side for the sake of their co-parenting relationship. Others cannot.

Parental alienation occurs when a parent deliberately damages the child’s relationship with their other parent. It can be extremely harmful to both the child and the parent. Parental alienation can also influence child custody decisions.

What Does Parental Alienation Look Like?

Parents’ main priority should be caring for their children. Unfortunately, some parents are more focused on getting revenge against the other parent than doing what is best for the child. Parental alienation looks different from case to case, but it usually involves psychological manipulation aimed at disintegrating the parent-child relationship. A parent may try to convince a child that the other parent is evil or that the other parent does not care about him or her. If the child mentions something positive about the other parent, the parent quickly dismisses it or even punishes the child for having positive feelings toward the other parent.

It can be hard to spot parental alienation, but some potential signs include:

  • The child suddenly develops a severe dislike for a previously-loved parent

  • The child uses adult language to describe the alienated parent

  • The child refuses to visit the alienated parent but cannot say why

What Can I Do About Parental Alienation?

When one parent tries to destroy a child’s relationship with the other parent, this is very harmful to the child. Children deserve to have a good relationship with both parents.  Unless there is a legitimate safety concern, a parent should not be trying to convince a child not to visit or communicate with the other parent.

If you believe that your child’s other parent is trying to alienate you, you may need to take legal action. Illinois law lists the factors courts consider during child custody disputes. A parent’s ability to promote a positive child-parent relationship with the other parent is one of these factors. So, it is possible that alienating behavior could affect the court’s decisions regarding parental responsibilities and parenting time.

Contact a Joliet Child Custody Lawyer

Parental alienation is very damaging to a child. If your child’s other parent is trying to turn your child against you, denying you visitation, or violating your parenting plan, call our Will County family law attorney for help. Call The Foray Firm at 312-702-1293 to set up a confidential consultation.




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