Divorce can be hard on any family. If you and your former spouse share custody of your children, though, you probably face a few additional challenges to overcome. You should not, however, have to worry about a co-parent turning your kids against you. Unfortunately, parental alienation occurs more than you may think.

Some parents have a greater likelihood of engaging in parental alienation than others. Of course, if your spouse is actively trying to alienate your children, you may miss out on important life events. You also may face a variety of other consequences. Either way, parental alienation runs counter to the best interests of your kids. Here are three signs that you may be the target of parental alienation:

Your child asks you to stay away

Watching children grow is one of the more rewarding parts of being a parent. If your child asks you to stay away from important functions, such as dance recitals or little league games, parental alienation may be to blame.

Your child challenges your authority 

Children can be precocious, sarcastic and downright disrespectful. Still, your child should not attempt to undercut your authority. If your young one does, your ex-spouse may be putting ideas into his or her head. This is especially true if your son or daughter parrots language about your parenting style that you have heard your former spouse use.

Your child owns his or her rebellion

Your child may not come clean about manipulation. If you question words or behaviors, your young one may not reveal their source. Instead, to protect the other parent, your child may take full ownership. This may indicate that your ex-spouse is manipulating your son or daughter.

Parental alienation is not only unethical, but it also likely violates your custody agreement or parenting plan. If you notice any alienation red flags, you must act quickly both to preserve your role in the family and to protect your legal interests.