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Law Offices of Rebecca Gonzalez, P.C.
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4 tips for countering parental alienation

Parental alienation occurs when one parent deliberately tries to harm the relationship between the children and the other parent. It may take the form of name-calling, lies, false accusations and making the other parent out to be a permanent bad guy.

It can cause damaging short- and long-term effects on the children and their relationship with the targeted parent and cause the children to refuse to follow the custody agreement or behave badly towards the alienated parent. Dealing with alienated children can be difficult since they are under the influence of emotional and mental manipulation, but parents can try to help their children recover from the alienation.

1. Maintain a positive relationship with the children

Non-alienating parents need to maintain positive and supportive relationships with their children, even in the face of resistance or negativity. They need to continue to reach out with love, understanding and patience, demonstrating that they are a reliable and caring presence in the children’s lives. Alienated children may act belligerent, angry, hostile, disrespectful and rude, but they still need reassurance. Acting the opposite of how the alienating parents depict them also strengthens the truth.

Parents also need to foster open and honest communication. Children need to feel they can speak about difficult subjects safely with them.

2. Remain cordial with the other parent

Parents need to avoid talking negatively about the alienating parents. They need to remain civil in all interactions, such as dropoff and pickup. This models healthy co-parenting behavior for the children.

3. Seek professional help

A therapist or counselor experienced in family dynamics can provide valuable support and guidance for processing emotions, improving communication and rebuilding relationships. Outside help also provides a neutral perspective that children may feel safer listening to.

4. Document everything

Parents need to keep detailed records of any incidents or interactions related to the parental alienation, including dates, times and specific behaviors or statements made by the alienating parent. Because parental alienation can create a hostile environment and hurt the children, parents may need to ask for court intervention. Documentation offers evidence that the alienation exists.

Children exposed to parental alienation may experience negative consequences. Targeted parents may find their relationships with their children damaged. However, they can counter alienation and help children recover with patience, love and understanding.

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