Parental Alienation Syndrome and Divorcing Parents

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Whenever possible, when going through a divorce, it is best to avoid acrimony, especially when interacting with your children. This is not as easy for some people who come to divorce with years of challenges, sometimes which include their partner’s parenting. In these cases, according to a leading Provo divorce attorney at Larsen Law Firm, too often parental alienation becomes an issue.

What is parental alienation syndrome?

When one parent (or their family) engages in negative conversations in front of the children or directly to them about the other parent (or their family). These conversations are designed to instill negative feelings in children about their parent and extended family. In these cases, parents are actively dragging their children into the divorce, encouraging either overtly or covertly that children take sides. Children are brainwashed and manipulated by their parents, causing significant emotional distress and having long-term effects on relationships, especially learning to trust.

This is especially harmful and considered a form of emotional child abuse by professionals. It’s tragic to see parents, who before the divorce were competent and caring parents, turn into vindictive and abusive parents. Depending on the degree of parental alienation, Utah courts can rule on a change of custody to the previously non-custodial parent that can include full custody to the alienated parent with supervised parenting for the parent who alienated his/her children. Counseling for all parties is typically recommended, and in some cases, is court ordered.

Who is typically the alienating parent?

The solid stereotype that women are responsible for all cases of parental alienation is unfortunately present in our society. While it is often the case, since typically children spend more time with their mothers than their fathers, it can go both ways. In fact, some of the most difficult to prove cases of parental alienation are when grandparents or other members of a child’s extended family seriously overstep their bounds.

How do I detect parental alienation syndrome and what can I do about it?

A significant change in behavior can signal that there may be alienation involved. Sometimes, children will openly tell their parent what the other parent is saying. Other hints are being withdrawn, hostile at visits, or even becoming extremely fearful. Take note and seek help from a mental health professional for your child and make sure that your Provo divorce lawyer is aware of your suspicions.

Fighting parental alienation syndrome is a very difficult battle and one that can create some major challenges with your relationship with your children. If you find yourself complaining about your ex with the children in earshot, just stop. Not doing so can create more problems for you and your children than the simple relief in blowing off steam. Make sure to have someone to whom you can confide, but never around your children.

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