In our last two articles, we’ve discussed what parental alienation is and how it can make its way into the courts. We’ve defined it throughout as strategies that one parent uses to distance a child from the other parent. That’s important to note, because there are counter-strategies you can use if you’re the target of parental alienation.
One of the most important things to be mindful of at the outset is though you, as a parent, might feel attacked or even victimized by parental alienation, it’s really your child who bears the brunt of it. In her article in Psychology Today, Dr. Christine B.L. Adams writes:
In any relationship, the expression “It takes two to tango” is accurate. Alienators must convince their children to participate in their desire for alienation from the other parent. Children describe the pressure they feel to accommodate to their alienators’ agendas. Alienators are the parents children most worry about crossing, upsetting, and making angry. They are also the parents that children see as most needing to have their way and who, in a role-reversal fashion, the parents see as most needing emotional support from their children.
That means it’s especially important to be patient, loving, and understanding while parental alienation is happening. Children going through parental alienation will experience guilt and emotional pressure through the actions of the alienating parent, and you certainly want to be mindful of the effects that pushing back might have.
That doesn’t mean, however, that you have to cede ground to the alienating parent if you find yourself experiencing parental alienation. Dr. Adams provides some tips for parents, which include:
- a court order for the children to live with the targeted parent,
- individual therapy for each child and targeted parent and family therapy for all the children and targeted parent,
individual therapy for alienating parents,
- slow introduction of supervised visitation between children and alienating parent as children and targeted parent discover what has happened to each of them as a result of the parental alienation, and
- later on, introduction of therapy with alienator and children to allow children to confront the alienator’s misrepresentation of reality and psychological pressure to comply with the parent’s desires to separate them from their targeted parent.
That, of course, is not an easy thing to achieve. The alienating parent very well may be acting out of anger or fear or anxiety caused by the divorce. If the alienating parent is able to address those issues, and eventually moves away from those feelings (and blaming his or her ex for those feelings), he or she might also move away from alienating behavior.
But, of course, there’s no guarantee of that. Your situation may need a family lawyer to ensure or restore parenting time. Know that the Law Office of Lisa A. Vance is experienced in these cases and can help you resolve them accordingly. Because we’re concerned with the welfare of children, and know that parental alienation directly and adversely affects them, we know the fight can sometimes go more than one round. But we’re also prepared and ready to do that with you and for you, because we know just how important it is.