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James D. Madden & Aruna P. Rodrigo, Family Law Attorneys

What is Parental Alienation? 08-17-2015

What is Parental Alienation?

Parental alienation can occur during high conflict marriages, separations, and divorces. It is a group of behaviors exhibited by the parents that negatively affect their child’s emotional and mental well-being. It can occur during arguments or passive aggressive conversations that can lead children to feel disassociated with one parent. The level of severity in parental alienation ranges from an off-hand slur against another spouse to actively trying to slander the other parent.

In order to understand how parental alienation affects children and parents, it is important to look at the different categories. There are three different types of alienation.

The Naive Alienator

  • This parent means well and understands the importance of their child having a solid relationship with the other parent.
  • There is good communication between spouses for the most part.
  • Naïve alienators know how to disassociate their desires and emotions from those of their child. They allow their child to make their own judgments.
  • Parents in this category may have disputes and few negative emotions towards the other, but it is nothing extensive. Children can generally cope and manage any stress from the split.

The Active Alienator

  • This parent also understands the importance of a child’s relationship with their parents and so promotes good bonds with the other spouse. However, sometimes their hurt feelings get in the way of their good will.
  • The active alienator harbors bitterness, anger, or frustration with the other parent, that when triggered, influences their emotions and actions.
  • They allow the child to form their own thoughts and opinions about the parents. However, sometimes it can be hard to separate what the child wants with what the parent wants during a flare up of negative emotions.
  • Any instances of lashing out can influence the child to hold negative feelings towards the other parents and cause alienation between the two.
  • For the most part, active alienators comply with court orders and respect overall authority.

The Obsessed Alienator

  • This parent actively holds on to negative emotions against the other spouse and looks to destroy that parent’s bond with the child.
  • This parents often cannot differentiate between the wishes of the child and their own thoughts, usually blending the two.
  • The obsessed alienator feels victimized and allows feelings of bitterness, anger, and hatred influence all their actions and thoughts.
  • Children sometimes mimic the parent’s thoughts because they are not encouraged to form their opinion.
  • This parent is not intimidated by the court and often takes justice into their own hands.

Divorce and separation can be stressful for everyone involved, but especially the children. It is important to prioritize their well-being during this tumultuous time. If you are going through a divorce or separation and have children, contact James D. Madden, Attorney at Law today!

Categories: Child Custody, Family Law

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