Perhaps there is no need for you to ask, what is parental alienation? In case you are not familiar with this phenomenon, it occurs when two parents of a minor divorce and the child or children bond with one parent and refuse to engage with the other.
A situation like this deprives the child of either a mother or a father, while it fills the alienated parent with grief and guilt. The bonded parent may also suffer emotional issues.
How does parental alienation express itself?
On the surface, parental alienation may seem obvious to diagnose—and sometimes it is. However, it also takes subtle, cruel and deceptive forms as well. Here are a few of its manifestations:
- The child may refuse all contact with the loathed parent, create obviously flimsy reasons to avoid interaction or express extreme distrust and fear
- The child may decide one parent is completely worthy and the other completely unworthy
- The child may subtly or overtly demean the loathed parent, challenge that parent’s authority and detest every possible platform for interaction
- The child may extend this behavior toward the loathed parent’s family and friends
How can you deal with parental alienation?
A response that can be helpful is to seek the aid of authorities who deal with such situations. Family courts can decree that the bonded parent stop exacerbating the situation. The court may also decide to employ a shared parenting arrangement as well as conjoint counseling.
Parental alienation seldom develops strictly from the impulse of the child. Rather, it is an indication of unresolved issues between the parents, resulting in one parent using a child to punish the other.