Parental alienation syndrome happens when one parent, knowingly or not, alienates a child from the other parent. This can be done purposefully as a way of getting the child to turn against the other parent, or it may be done accidentally by relying on a child as a kind of emotional support for all the wrongs done by the other parent.
There are many signs that a child is being alienated, from knowing all the details of a divorce to coming out and saying that their mother or father said the other parent is bad. Here are three red flags that you need to recognize and address if and when they occur.
Children deny any positive interactions with the alienated parent
Here’s one red flag that people can recognize immediately. Even if a child had a happy life with both parents in the past, he or she will suddenly start saying that there is nothing good about the alienated parent or that they are scared of them. They may be accusatory, saying that the other parent never did anything nice for them, even though that’s not true.
The child fights visitation for no reason
Another red flag is when a child suddenly stops seeking visitation time with the other parent or fights seeing the parent, even though there is nothing negative happening to cause this reaction. The child may fight seeing the other parent because of promises of gifts if they do, or they might react that way after the influencing parent starts talking negatively about their ex-spouse, making the child turn on them.
The child becomes hateful, spiteful and rude
When a child has been alienated, they may become spiteful, rude and hateful, even though the alienated parent is being kind or generous to them. The child may have no guilt about treating the parent badly or trying to get all they are “owed” from them.
These signs of alienation can be heartbreaking for parents who are dealing with it. It is important to take steps to end these feelings of alienation as soon as possible, seeking treatment for your child and assistance from your attorney.