On Your Side

What is parental alienation, and how do you deal with it?

On Behalf of | Sep 1, 2022 | Child Custody

After New Jersey parents separate or divorce, focusing on the child is often the most important thing. However, if there is a situation of parental alienation, it can be difficult to overcome.

Parental alienation explained

Parental alienation usually occurs after a highly contentious divorce. One parent uses tactics to turn the child against the other parent. In some cases, the alienating parent may not even be aware of their actions. The parent who is the target is viewed as the enemy or the person at fault for the divorce and all the problems during the marriage.

How to deal with parental alienation

When a parent is the target of parental alienation, it can have damaging effects on their relationship with their child. There are ways they can mitigate that damage even if it appears that the child hates them.

The first way to reconnect with the child is to address the badmouthing the other parent has done. Explain to your child that what they were told was not true. For example, if your child says that their other parent told them the divorce happened because you no longer love them, you should set the record straight. Tell them that it was a problem between you and your former spouse that had nothing to do with the child.

Give your child encouragement to directly come to you to talk whenever necessary. They might feel reluctant based on what they’ve been told by their other parent. Reaffirm your love for them and that you will always be there for them.

It’s hard, but always keep your emotions in check when trying to reconnect with your child after parental alienation. Regaining physical custody is the most important thing and is a big step in mending your parent/child relationship. However, if you no longer have custody, don’t stop reaching out to your child. Connect with them any way you can.

Parental alienation is hurtful, but it can be undone.