As a parent, you have certain rights in regard to your children. These include the right to spend time with them and cultivate the bond between you. Your children also have a right to a loving relationship with both parents. Unfortunately, we at the Law Offices of Andrew S. Guisbond have seen parents during and after divorce try to sabotage their children’s relationship with the other parent.
If one parent is successful at turning the children against the other, the term for this is parental alienation. It is not only bad for the parent who is on the receiving end. As the Psychiatric Times puts it, researchers agree that parental alienation is a form of child abuse.
Because parental alienation is psychological in nature, the signs can be difficult to recognize. Further complicating the matter is that the alienating behavior may occur behind your back. For example, when the other parent is alone with the children, he or she may paint himself or herself as the victim and characterize you in a disparaging way.
The alienating parent may also try to ingratiate himself or herself to the children by undermining your authority. He or she may jeopardize your time with the children by using visitation as a weapon or violating parenting time agreements. The alienation can even escalate to the point where the other parent threatens to take the children and relocate to another state or makes false abuse accusations against you.
Children already feeling a loyalty conflict between their two parents because of the divorce may be more susceptible to the manipulation of an alienating parent. However, as a responsible parent, there are legal steps you can take to stop the psychological abuse of your children. More information about parental alienation is available on our website.