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What is parental alienation?

If you share custody of your children after a divorce, you know that you are legally guaranteed time with the kids. In theory, this will help you forge the same type of relationship with them as your ex.

However, you may feel like the children never want to come to see you. Maybe they cry when you pick them up, they don’t listen to you, and they clearly resent being around you. You feel like they are always angry with you, and your relationship is deteriorating — despite having equal custody time. Are you a victim of parental alienation?

Turning your children against you

Essentially, parental alienation is when one parent tries to turn the children against the other parent, thereby alienating them and cutting them out of their children’s lives. It’s a manipulative tactic to try to reduce that parent’s role even while following the court’s order to give said parent equal time with the kids. This can be done by:

  • Telling lies about that parent
  • Blaming them for the divorce
  • Blaming them for any problems in the children’s lives
  • Not adhering to the same rules
  • Intentionally buying the children expensive gifts

Your ex may also tell the children they could live with them all the time if it was up to them, essentially making you the “bad guy” who forces them to spend time with you. It’s easy to see why you may feel like your relationship with the kids is falling apart.

Parental alienation is just one thing that makes child custody complicated. Make sure you know what legal options you have.

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