Marriages end for numerous reasons. However, if the relationship between you and your one-time partner is especially poor, you may have concerns about him or her attempting to turn any children you share against you. Parental alienation occurs when one parent encourages and manipulates a shared child to reject or become estranged from his or her other parent.
How is parental alienation harmful, and why does it often develop during a divorce?
The effects of parental alienation
Parental alienation has harmful effects on children. For starters, it has the potential to do lasting damage to the relationship that exists between parent and child. It also subjects children to significant amounts of pressure, because they often do not want to anger or cross the parent encouraging alienation of the other parent. Many kids subjected to parental alienation also experience guilt after rejecting one of their parents.
Why parental alienation often occurs amid divorce
In many divorces, one parent has more anger, sadness or animosity than the other. The parent feeling angry may also feel inclined to lash out or attempt to blame the other parent for the dissolution of the marriage. Many people who engage in parental alienation tactics also share certain characteristics in common. For example, they may have a history of badmouthing the other parent, or they may demonstrate emotional neediness when it comes to their children.
While parental alienation often rears its head during a divorce, some parents begin to engage in harmful parental alienation tactics while their marriages are still intact.