There are many definitions of parental alienation. A simple definition is when one parent isolates the children from the other parent through words or conduct, such that it creates anger, hostility, lack of affection or division between the child and the other parent.
Parental alienation can come in many different ways. They are:
Negative Comments (Disparagement):
Many times, parental alienation is when one parent states negative comments or criticism of the other parent. This can include insulting the other parent, speaking negatively about the other parent, or blaming you for the divorce. Oftentimes, one parent will state that other parent is “not paying child support” or “always late in picking you up” or other negative comments about the divorce.
In addition to direct negative comments from one parent to the children, parental alienation also occurs when one parent allows their relatives or friends to also engage in stating negative comments. It is not “ok” to allow a grandparent, aunt or uncle to engage in negative comments about the other parent.
Undermining Your Authority as a Parent:
Another form of parental alienation is when one parent allows the children to believe that the other parent’s authority or discipline can be ignored. It is completely improper to tell the children that they “don’t have to listen to you”.
Some examples of undermining authority are when one parent tells the children, while they are with you: (i) that they don’t have to do their homework; (ii) they don’t have to listen to your bedtime; or (iii) they don’t have to do the chores you assign to them.
Of course, it would be best if both parents have similar rules when it comes to parenting the children.
Parental alienation is also defined when you allow a child to make decisions that are more suited for an adult or parent. For example, allowing the child to decide whether or not they can visit with you.
A Second Dad or Second Mom
During the divorce process, if a parent tells the children to call their significant other “Mom” or “Dad”, this is a form of parental alienation. Similarly, allowing the significant other to “act” as a second Dad or second Mom. This could be when the significant other shows up to teacher-parent meetings, coaching the child in sports, or taking the child to the doctor and “acting” as the biological parent.
False allegations of domestic abuse, child abuse, drug use, neglect or other negative actions are a serious issue by themselves. False allegations can also be part of parental alienation. If one parent uses false allegations so as to alienate the other parent or to restrict the other parent’s parenting time, then that can be considered part of parental alienation.
Parental alienation is a serious concern and unfortunately can happen in your divorce. If you believe that your spouse is engaging in parental alienation, you must take immediate action. David Badanes, Esq. and the Badanes Law Office, P.C. are equipped to notice the signs of parental alienation and help you in fighting such actions.
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