Divorce is an incredibly complex situation to comprehend for children, because they often feel like their whole world is falling apart. If not handled correctly, divorce can leave rather negative effects on a child’s development into adulthood. One of the biggest mistakes a divorcing couple can make is to force a child to choose sides. What’s even worse is one parent fostering a child’s rejection of the other parent. Manipulating the child to hate one of their parents is one of the most innately horrible things to do, and it is known as parental alienation.
Attempting to undermine one parent by programming a child to deny a relationship with that parent can lead to awful consequences down the road. When a parent does this, it is almost always a sign of bitterness, jealousy, or selfishness on that particular parent’s part. Not only does this harm the child by creating a hostile environment and tarnishing the child’s memories, it ruins chances of a healthy parent-child relationship in the future.
Examples of parental alienation include but are not limited to:
- Bad-mouthing the other parent
- Limiting contact with that parent
- Erasing the other parent from life and mind of the child
- Forbidding discussion and pictures of other parent
- Forcing the child to reject the other parent
- Creating the impression the other parent is dangerous
- Withdrawal of affection or threats
- Belittling and limiting contact with extended family of the other parent
Parental alienation is a form of brainwashing, as it demonizes and vilifies the parent based on the feelings of the ex-spouse alone. As a result, most parents who have lost contact with their children have done so involuntarily–and this occurs more often than people may believe. Reconnection is incredibly difficult to achieve. Now considered a form of child abuse, parent alienation can likely cause low self-esteem, self-hatred, lack of trust, depression, substance abuse, and addiction. As children lose the capacity to love and be loved by a parent, they often internalize their anger and hatred and either feel extreme guilt for their actions, or otherwise feel their worthless because they believe their parent supposedly does not love them.
Contact Our West Chester Divorce Lawyers
At Meadows Law Firm, our divorce lawyers hold the firm belief that parents and children deserve the right to have open communication and the opportunity for a loving relationship. To deny a child of this relationship is child abuse, and we find this to be an abhorrent situation which requires legal action. If your ex-spouse is alienating you from your child’s life, you have rights and we are willing to aggressively fight for you.
Contact us today by calling our office to speak to a representative about your case.