How to Reverse Parental Alienation
In a perfect world, separated parents would put their children first and their feelings of animosity second. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen: If a person doesn’t have the proper coping techniques, it can be hard to identify and control these negative feelings towards their ex-spouse.
This is often the setup for parental alienation syndrome.
How Do Children and Parents Become Alienated?
Parental alienation is a strategy in which one parent unjustly and intentionally harms the relationship between their children and the other parent by performing toxic behaviors, such as:
- Speaking badly to the child about the other parent
- Attempting to dissuade the child from wanting to visit the other parent
- Spreading hateful lies and assumptions that harm the other parent’s reputation
- Fighting with the other parent in front of the child, often paired with absurd rationalizations
- Careful manipulation of the targeting parent’s feelings toward the other parents
Remember that, in most cases, these accusations and behaviors are unfounded. They are usually the result of an angry and hurt individual that hasn’t yet processed or overcome their feelings.
What Are the Signs of Parental Alienation?
Typical signs of a child suffering from parental alienation — also called the “alienated child” — are extreme hostility towards the targeted parent, ungratefulness when met with gifts or favors, refusal to see or spend time with them, and overall defiance and withdrawal.
How Can You Reverse Parental Alienation?
There are ways to help reverse parental alienation. Every case is unique, so remember that these tips are mere stepping stones to establishing a better relationship with your child. In some instances, changes may take effect quickly, while others may take longer or require some outside help.
Tip #1: Create a Trusting and Loving Relationship With Your Child
The most important thing you can do with your alienated child is work to establish a trusting and loving relationship with them by showing that you’re an ally who cares about them unconditionally.
Try practicing these actions and techniques:
- Treat your child like an individual human worthy of having their own opinions, thoughts, and feelings. This may help them understand that they are separate from the targeting parent and capable of making their own choices.
- Foster a trusting relationship by avoiding yelling, lecturing, and raising your voice. If your child cheats on a test, you may be tempted to lecture them, but this will only push your child further away. You can still set boundaries by lovingly explaining wrong versus right decisions.
Tip #2: Speak Positively of the Other Parent
One of the first things your child will notice is that you refuse to speak badly about the other parent. You might wonder how this is possible if your child is already becoming alienated, but it can work.
Imagine this: Every time your child spends time with the targeting parent, they have to hear dismissive comments and angry accusations about you. But when your child spends time with you, nothing like that comes up at all. So even if your child doesn’t realize they are being manipulated at first, they will begin to notice a difference in how their parents talk about one another.
Tip #3: Consult with Family Law Experts On Your Next Steps
If you feel helpless in rebuilding your relationship or feel that your child is at the point of no return, then you might need outside professional help, like experienced family law attorneys.
Family law attorneys can help build appropriate custody arrangements, foster mediation between you and the other parent, and ultimately reverse alienation because they aim to start on the right foot.
How Hickey & Hull Law Partners Can Help You
With decades of experience specializing in family law, our compassionate team at Hickey & Hull Law Partners is confident that we can help you fix your relationship today. Please fill out our online form for a free consultation, or contact us today for more information. Our River Valley office number is 479.434.2414, and our Northwest Arkansas number is 479.802.6560.