Parental alienation happens when a child becomes enmeshed with one parent, strongly allying himself or herself with that parent, and rejects the other parent without legitimate justification. These children are encouraged by one parent, the favoured parent or alienating parent, to unjustly reject the other parent, the targeted parent. The children can fall prey to the alienating parent’s tactics as a means of escaping the conflict.
One behaviour commonly overlooked often overlooked by the Courts as a very hurtful aspect of Parental Alienation involves one parent keeping the other from contact with the children — as punishment.
New Fathers 4 Justice believe that contact denial is emotional abuse. Breach of court orders is a crime.
There are may strategies used by the alienating parent to foster conflict and psychological distance between the child and the targeted parent.These include poisonous messages to the child about the targeted parent in which he or she is portrayed as unloving, unsafe, and unavailable.
Threatening To Keep Your Ex From the Kids
Divorced parents can quickly learn ways to abuse their power over the other parent by using the children as a lever. Among the most harmful of these types of manipulations is making demands and threatening to eliminate or restrict contact with the kids if your ex doesn’t agree.
Using Your Child as a Pawn
Most all divorced parents have incidents and expectations that cause great frustration or anger toward their ex. But you’re stepping over the line when you make the kids a pawn in your negotiations. Demanding that your ex does something or stops another behavior and using contact with the children as punishment not only hurts your ex. It hurts, scars, confuses and frustrates your children, as well.
Putting your kids in the midst of parental conflict is toxic and has proven to be one of the greatest causes of post-divorce family problems. Children are torn about taking sides. It’s a no-win situation because they feel guilty regardless of how they choose.
Even if your ex is in some ways a negative influence on your children, there may be other aspects of the relationship in which the contact is positive, beneficial and nurturing. Let your children make the decision about whether to minimize contact with their other parent, based on their own experiences. Never let your personal bitterness influence whether your children have a relationship and an emotional connection with their Dad or Mom — unless there is actual abuse that threatens their well-being.
Children Need Both Parents
Remember that your divorce is between a mother and father, and not your relationship with your children. All children need positive role models of responsible parenting. They benefit from seeing two mature adults interacting effectively as parents for the sake of their kids. Children thrive under the attention of both parents. Don’t deny them the psychological value of knowing both Mum and Dad are there for them, continue to love them and will be nurturing them through the years ahead — despite the divorce.
That affirmation of support will get your kids through challenges ahead that all children face as they progress through school, tackle their own interpersonal relationships and learn how to be positive, productive citizens in this world. Be a hero in your children’s lives. Bite your tongue, vent to your friends and make responsible decisions you can be proud of as a parent — for the sake of your kids!