Divorce can be fraught with emotional difficulties, especially when it comes to the children. It is normal for a child to express anger and sadness toward you during a divorce, but if the emotions appear unfounded and excessive, the other parent may be to blame. If you are going through a rough time with your child, it may be because of parental alienation.
Parental alienation occurs when a parent manipulates a child into being afraid of or hostile toward the other parent without any solid reason. Watch out for these red flags of parental alienation.
- The child aligns with the other parent
Your child may seem upset from time to time, and that is perfectly fine. But if you are getting the overwhelming brunt of negative emotions, there may be a problem. If your child is disproportionately angry and standoffish towards you, it may be a clue that your ex is encouraging this behavior.
- Exclusionary requests from your child
It can be difficult to figure out how the new family dynamic works during and after a divorce. You may want to maintain a sense of normalcy and show your support for your child by showing up to extracurricular activities and events, such as sports games or school plays. It is a bad sign if your child asks you to not show up.
- Your child knows more than is appropriate
Most children do not need to know about the details of a divorce, but the alienating parent may discuss inappropriate subjects in an effort to manipulate the child. If your child knows specific financial, sexual or legal problems regarding the marriage or divorce, you should be concerned.
General warning signs include anything that indicates the other parent is controlling and noncompliant. If you are able to prove parental alienation, a judge may award you more custody and visitation.