Today is Parental Alienation Awareness Day.
According the paawareness.com, “Parental alienation (PA or Hostile Aggressive Parenting) is a group of behaviors that are damaging to children’s mental and emotional well-being, and can interfere with a relationship of a child and either parent. These behaviors most often accompany high conflict marriages, separation or divorce.”
Behaviors to look for in regards to Parental Alienation:
- Speaking negatively or undermining the other parent in the presence of the child
- Blaming the other parent for their problems and reasons for divorce
- Withholding visitation with the other parent
- Giving their child a choice in regards to visitation with the other parent
- Speaking to the child about the flaws in their marriage
- Allowing children to feel like they’d be hurting one parent by having fun with the other parent
- Asking the child about the other parent’s personal life
- A child’s attitude toward the targeted parent changes and becomes more negative
What can you do if you suspect Parental Alienation?
- Educate yourself: Learn all you can about Parental Alienation. There are great books and resources out there, including, “Coparenting With a Toxic Ex” and “Divorce Poison.”
- Seek support: You can seek support from a mental health professional. You can also seek support from a local or online based support group.
- Document: Keep a journal or record of examples regarding your concern. Be as specific as you can in your documentation by citing dates, times, events, etc.
- Correct Misinformation: If your child makes a statement that isn’t true, correct it immediately. Sometimes lies can be turned into memories for kids and therefore it’s important to always correct misinformation with the truth. Focus on the facts and the truth rather than focusing on what the other parent said or didn’t say or did or didn’t do.
- Take the High Road: It can be a challenge when someone is placing blame, speaking negatively about you or your partner to your child, and trying to sabotage your relationship with them. But as challenging as it is, it’s important to always take the high road and not make those same choices.
There are many damaging effects of Parental Alienation on a child. By spreading awareness of Parental Alienation, we can educate the masses and hopefully decrease this form of emotional abuse.
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