Parental alienation, the process through which one parent manipulates their child to distance the child from their other parent, is more common than people think. Some studies estimate that as many as 22 million adults are on the receiving end of parental alienation, which means that millions of children are caught in the middle of bickering parents who think they know what’s best for their children.
And the impact on children can be tragic. Parental alienation can drive a child away from one of their parents, resulting in depression, anxiety, lack of trust, low self-esteem, and behavioral issues. The ripple effects caused by these issues can be significant, too, impacting everything from your child’s school performance to their ability to build healthy relationships.
What can you do about parental alienation?
If you suspect that you and your child are being subjected to parental alienation, then you need to take immediate action to try to bring it to a stop. If you sit on it, then you and your child will continue to be negatively impacted. But how do you go about stopping parental alienation?
You’re likely going to have to file for a child custody modification that seeks an arrangement that protects your child and preserves your relationship with him or her. To be successful on this motion, though, you’ll need evidence demonstrating that parental alienation is actually occurring. Here are some ways to prove alienation:
- Lay witness testimony: One way to prove parental alienation is to have family members, friends, and school personnel testify as to lies told by the other parent and other behaviors aimed at cutting you off from your child. Your own testimony here can be powerful, too, but you want to ensure that it’s corroborated.
- Social media posts: Your child’s other parent probably posts on social media about their frustrations, which might include you and your relationship with your child. But these posts can also be insightful, as they can demonstrate how your child’s other parent disparages you in a way that can be easily observed by your child. These posts can also highlight the lengths to which the other parent has gone to cut you off from your child. You also might want to look at your child’s social media posts to see how they portray you and how strongly tied they are to the other parent’s beliefs and actions.
- Written communications: Emails and text messages can also be strong evidence. They might show the hostility that’s deployed against you and the obstacles that are thrown at you to maintain contact with your child. You’ll want to scrutinize these communications to see if your child has echoed any allegations contained within them, as drawing this link is oftentimes viewed as strong evidence of alienation.
- Expert testimony: Expert testimony tends to carry a lot of weight with the court. So, if your child is seeing a therapist or some other mental health professional, then you should assess whether they have an opinion as to whether parental alienation is occurring and how your child manifests the impact of that alienation.
Don’t let parental alienation ruin your relationship with your child
The impact of parental alienation can be tragic for you and your child, which is why you need to bring it to a stop as quickly as possible. The good news is that family law courts are becoming much more receptive to arguments about this issue.