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Is My Co-Parent Purposely Damaging My Relationship with Our Child?When parents get divorced, their ongoing relationship can be tricky to navigate. Unlike other divorced couples, co-parents do not have the option of living completely separate lives. Maybe they spend time with their kids together or perhaps they only communicate regarding parenting arrangements and other necessary decisions. While it is always advisable to have an amicable co-parenting relationship, this is not always the case. In fact, some parents will go so far as to create a division in the relationship between their child and their co-parent in a tactic known as parental alienation.

What is Parental Alienation?

The term parental alienation syndrome (PAS) was coined in 1985 by child psychologist Richard Gardner to describe the behaviors seen in a child when they are subjected to parental alienation. When one parent discredits the child’s other parent, this can directly influence the child’s relationship with the discredited parent. The words and actions that are done to damage this relationship are known as parental alienation. This can come in many forms, a common example being one parent telling the child that their other parent does not love them or care about them. He or she can also provide in-depth details of why their marriage failed in an attempt to turn their child against their other parent. The severity of parental alienation tactics can vary and may not always be intentional. However, these criticisms can leave a lasting, damaging impact on the quality of the child-parent relationship.

Signs of PAS

Parental alienation syndrome is not an officially recognized mental health condition, but a court may acknowledge one parent’s efforts to damage the other parent’s relationship with their child. If you have suspicions that your child is being subjected to parental alienation, look for the following signs:

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Are You a Victim of Parental Alienation?Your children are some of the most important people in your life. Their happiness, safety, and security are often placed well above your own. During a divorce, some parents may be overwhelmed with emotions that they may not know what to do with. If the divorce is especially contentious, parents may begin to lose sight of what is truly important – the children. In these situations, the parents’ hate and contempt for each other overshadows their love for their children, and certain actions are taken that can be detrimental to the children’s wellbeing. One of the most common things that happens during these kinds of divorces is called parental alienation.

What is Parental Alienation?

Parental alienation happens when one parent tries to get their child to turn against the other parent. This often occurs because one parent is mad at the other parent and is trying to hurt them in any way they can. Essentially, parental alienation is when one parent uses their child as a weapon against the other parent. The alienating parent may use bribery, false allegations, negative comments or keeping the child from seeing the other parent to paint a negative picture in the child’s head of that parent. Both mothers and fathers are equally as likely to be the alienating parent, but the alienating parent is also likely to suffer from a personality disorder, such as narcissism.

Parental alienation is detrimental to a child’s mental health and wellbeing. Children who are victims of parental alienation become almost brainwashed, hating the alienated parent in an almost irrational way. Children have the right to have a relationship with both of their parents – they naturally want to have a relationship with both parents. When one parent destroys that relationship with the other parent, the child suffers.

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