When one parent attempts to manipulate their children so that they turn against the other parent, this is known as parental alienation. Divorced parents in Tennessee should be prepared to recognize and respond appropriately in such a scenario.
Parental alienation can happen in any kind of custody and visitation arrangement. It may begin in small ways; for example, the alienating parent might badmouth the ex and then might try to change a visitation agreement on the grounds that the child needs to study or is sick. A child’s behavior might gradually change to become combative. In many cases, however, the child will deny that any of this behavior is connected to the other parent.
The targeted parent might be removed from contact lists and shut out of school meetings. Furthermore, the child may request that the parent stop attending school functions. Parents should not allow this kind of behavior to provoke extreme reactions. Instead, they should react by establishing firm boundaries in a loving manner. They should resist the temptation to badmouth the other parent. A more positive alternative would be to consider contacting a professional for more assistance or advice.
Parental alienation could escalate to the point that the other parent might try to get a child custody modification. Parents who feel that they are the victims of parental alienation may want to talk to an attorney about the situation and possible responses. For example, the attorney might advise the parent to document the situation thoroughly in case it is necessary to return to court.