When two people want to end their relationship, they might just simply cut ties with one another, or if they are married, they might make the difficult choice to get a divorce. However, once there are children in the mix of a divorce or a breakup, things can get a lot more complicated.
Having children can be one of the most fulfilling experiences in a person’s life. However, it can also be a stressful one if you don't get along with the person you had the child with. It’s not uncommon for divorced parents to not get along since there is a reason they are not together anymore.
Parents should try to get along for the sake of their child, but this isn’t always the case. When one parent has hostile feelings towards their child’s other parent, they can project these feelings onto their child in hopes that their child will also be upset with their other parent and not want to see them. This is parental alienation, which refers to a child’s unwarranted dislike or animosity toward one parent.
Here are four signs that your partner is alienating your child from you, and what you can do about it.
1. The other parent will skip or cancel your time with your child.
This is a familiar alienation tactic parents use when they don't want to see you. You both agree to meet up at a certain time and place, but when the time actually comes for you to pick your child up, the other parent refuses to let you see them. Other times, your ex will stand you up by calling you at the last minute with several excuses as to why you can’t visit your child today.
2. They force the child to lie or say things that aren't true.
If you are going to court, or you guys are having a custody battle, one defense tactic the other parent may use is telling the children lies about you. Parents who do this might tell your child things like you don't love them, you don't want to see them, or that you want nothing to do with them.
Your ex might be doing this for several reasons. One reason is that they want to alienate your child from you, but they could also be wanting to get your child to tell the court this if you are in the middle of a custody battle. When parents do this, they are just hurting the child. These lies can lead to the child feeling abandoned by that parent, which can lead to problems in the future.
3. Your child acts hostile and angry when you do talk to them.
Once your child starts to believe in the lies, they will act angry and hostile towards you. Even if you have done nothing wrong, your child will act like they suddenly despise you. They might even refuse to talk or go anywhere with you.
4. The other parent gets angry when the children have fun during your visits.
It is normal for another parent to be a little jealous of the other, but if it is to the point where they look visibly upset and try to shame you in front of your child, then there might be more going on that you don't know about.
What You Can do About Parental Alienation
If your child has experienced parental alienation, seek out a licensed therapist. It can be hard for your child to sort out what information is true and what is false. It’s important that this is done as soon as possible to reduce the effects of your child’s mental health. If you don’t currently have shared custody of your child, it might be best to modify your child custody order. Having equal time with your child can reduce the occurrence of parental alienation. With a court order, parents must adhere to it, which means your child has to physically be with you when it’s your time with them. If your ex isn’t letting your child see you, they can be in contempt if there is a court order.
If you need help with your child custody situation, contact our experienced attorneys at O’Malley Law Office, LLC. Custody issues can be difficult to resolve, but having the right attorney can ensure your rights and interests are protected.
Call us today at (570) 391-0866 for a free consultation on your child custody case.