What is Parental Alienation? Nowadays, Parental Alienation (PA) is being discussed by experts as one of the worst forms of child abuse. Whether mild or severe, alienating your children from the other parent may take a huge psychological and emotional toll on them. It may even turn into a serious mental condition, based on a false belief that the alienated parent is dangerous and unworthy. Below are some of the serious effects of parental alienation:
- Develop self-hatred led by the belief that the alienated parent does not love them or want them.
- Grow up with low self-esteem and low confidence. Children understand that they are half of each parent. To make a child hate the other parent is to make a child feel that half of her is not worthy of love.
- Develop lack trust. They may start thinking negatively about the people around them and wonder if those people can really be trusted or relied upon.
- Suffer from severe depression. Their depression may be rooted in feelings of being unloved by one of the parents, and from separation from that parent, without being able to mourn the loss of the parent or to even talk about them.
- Hinder cognitive developments. Your child may perform poorly at school.
- Experience severe guilt or remorse related to isolating, depriving or betraying the alienated parent.
- May lean towards substance abuse or other forms of addiction as they grow up being depressed.
- Research shows that alienated children typically are at high risk of becoming alienated from their own children once they become parents.
Overcoming Parental Alienation (How to Stop Parental Alienation): Things You Should be Aware of As a Parent
The most tragic component of a toxic divorce is parental alienation. Parental alienation is devastating not only for the alienated parent but also for the child. A study by Fidler and Bala (2010) states that about 11-15% of all divorces involving children involve parental alienation issues. A divorce between parents is already quite frightening for children as the family structure begins to change dramatically. This is a change that they have no control over. And this is the time they need their parents’ love and support the most, to cope with the new situation and with the changed lifestyle. To make things easier on them and to stop parental alienation from taking place in the first place, there are certain things that you can follow as parents:
- Do not involve your children in the divorce proceeding, custody battle or the litigation in general. Keep them as much away as possible.
- Respect the rights of the other parent. Unless otherwise directed by the court, understand that it is his fundamental right as a parent to have access to his kid and to offer him love and affection. At the same time, it is important for you to reckon that your child also needs both parents’ love and care for a healthy upbringing.
- Remind your child of the fun times that you all have had together.
- Never speak badly of the other parent to your child.
- Love your child unconditionally. Always tell that you love them and will always be there for them no matter what. Make them feel special.
- Don’t try to win over the other parent with enticements (toys, trips, rule-breaking etc.).
- Never blame your child for anything that happened between you and the other parent.
- Always be on-time with your visitations and don’t cancel your times altogether.
- Try to work things out and try to co-parent as much as possible. Always work for the best interest of your child.