Attempts to turn a child against a parent can be immensely damaging to a child’s well-being. Tragically, too many parents do this following divorce or separation. They do so for many reasons, from wanting to punish the other parent to suffering from a mental illness.
If parental alienation efforts from the other parent have harmed your relationship with your child, you should know what you can do to repair the damage.
Secure your legal rights
If you see signs of parental alienation, the sooner you act on it, the better. One critical step to take is to protect your rights to be with your child. Talking with your lawyer about your concerns can be vital in preserving your rights.
Further, the courts may change existing parenting time and decision-making orders if evidence shows the other parent is acting contrary to a child’s best interests by manipulating them or damaging an otherwise healthy relationship with you.
The courts can also enforce existing orders if the other parent violates them by preventing you from seeing your child.
Seek professional support
Parental alienation involves more than an occasional spat between parents or differing views on child-rearing. It can cause profound psychological issues for children and parents alike and is linked to depression, long-term trust issues and a higher risk of substance abuse.
For these reasons, professional help from trained therapists and counsellors can be crucial for both you and your child.
Be patient with your child
It can take a lot of time for a child to come to terms with and confront guilt, anger and resentment. They can struggle to understand what an alienated parent did to them; they may not know what is true and what was fabricated.
With so much to cope with, repairing a relationship will not happen overnight. Thus, you must be patient with your child and yourself as you navigate this complicated process.
Focus on the future
The past may be painful, and the present could be stressful for people affected by the fallout of a hostile, aggressive parent’s actions. However, the future could be brighter for parents who take swift, deliberate steps to counteract the effects of parental alienation.
Securing competent professional help (mental health and legal) is essential to combatting parental alienation.