One of my recently-divorced colleagues called yesterday asking, ‘How to prevent parental alienation?‘ This is a serious problem nowadays, especially for the joint custodial parents.
If you also feel like your ex-spouse is trying to alienate your children from you, then there are a few things that you can do to remedy the situation, which will be discussed in detail below. You should take some steps before the separation and some during custody negotiations.
10 Ways on How to Prevent Parental Alienation
Below 3 things you can do to stop parental alienation before separation:
#1. Keep emotions controlled:
Be sure to keep your emotions under control before beginning the separation. In a heated moment, it is really easy to say things you will later regret. Keep yourself calm and collected, and remember that when it’s over, you will have to try to co-parent your children.
#2. Accept the other parent:
Recognize and accept that there are two parents involved. When one parent is angry at another, it can be easy to forget this basic fact of a shared child custody arrangement. The more you stay focused on your role as a co-parent, the easier it will be to avoid alienating your child.
#3. Consult with a mediator:
Consider consulting with a mediator or family counsellor if you fear you and your ex might get into trouble during custody negotiations. A third party can help both of you agree upon fair terms for a shared custody arrangement.
If your ex is already abusive toward you or the children, a mediator can help determine what safety steps you need to take to protect yourself and your children.
Below are the seven things you can do during custody negotiations to prevent parental alienation:
#4. Do calm but strong negotiation:
If you are concerned that a parent is alienating your children, listen actively when speaking with your ex during child custody negotiations. Let them say their piece without interrupting or arguing over every little point.
When you’re talking, do your best to stick to the facts and avoid attacks on your ex or what they say. Also, remember that you can’t control how your ex behaves during negotiations; all you can do is respect them and treat them with kindness.
#5. Don’t be over-smart:
Make sure both of you have the same goals in mind. It is important to remember that the purpose of a child custody agreement is to eventually reunite your family, not to cover one parent’s mistakes during the separation.
When working toward an agreement you both can agree upon, don’t try to take advantage of your ex or use them for revenge.
#6. Control your behaviour:
Avoid defending yourself to your child. What you may see as an innocent action, such as calling your spouse or visiting them for a lunch date with friends, can be hurtful to them and lead your children to believe the worst about you. Remember that kids want their parents to be friends and respect one another.
#7. Spend quality time with children:
Keep visiting with your children at the designated times, no matter how angry you may be with or upset by your ex.
Do not speak poorly of them during visits, and avoid making accusations against your child. Remember that these are positive bonding experiences for both you and your children. Spending frequent and quality time with a child helps prevent parental alienation.
Keep custody and visitation times consistent. Make sure your children’s routines are not disrupted by your separation and avoid letting the negotiations make you change their regular schedules.
#8. Keep aside your child from the conflict:
Avoid trying to get your kids on your side. Even if you think your children are pointing out what they perceive as flaws in their other parent, it is essential to remember that you must put aside the conflict and do what is best for them.
If necessary, let your kids know that everyone has some flaws, but those aren’t important when someone loves us.
#9. Don’t blame yourself:
Understand that even though a divorce is rough on everyone involved, it does not mean you are a bad parent. Many people make the mistake of believing that everyone will feel the same amount of pain during a divorce.
Make sure you take care of yourself and get enough rest to stay confident and focused on your parenting responsibilities. You do not want to make decisions regarding your children when you are controlled by sadness or anger.
Be prepared to make sacrifices for the sake of your children. You and your ex will need to compromise if you both want what is best for the kids. Working together can help repair the relationship between you and your child’s other parent and lead children to see their parents more positively.
#10. Go to court:
If nothing helps, but still your ex-spouse withheld your child from you, you can directly go for a court order. An expert child custody lawyer near your area can help you regarding this point. Your spouse has no legal right to do that until a court order.
Do you need further tips on how to prevent parental alienation? Watch this video. I hope it will help you to prevent alienating your child from you.
FAQs on How to Prevent Parental Alienation
What are the 17 signs of parental alienation?
- The child starts to exhibit negative behaviors towards the targeted parent that was never present before.
- The child demonstrates an irrational fear of or hostility towards the targeted parent.
- The child makes false accusations against the targeted parent, often without any basis in reality.
- The child aligns themselves with the parent they are being alienated from and against the other parent.
- The child refuses to spend time with the targeted parent or resists contact when they are forced to do so.
- The child demonstrates a sudden and extreme change in their behavior towards the targeted parent without any plausible explanation.
- The child speaks badly about the targeted parent to others and tries to convince others to see the parent in a negative light.
- The child refuses to listen to or accept any positive things said about the targeted parent.
- The child only wants to spend time with people who support their negative view of the targeted parent.
- The child tries to distance themselves from the targeted parent emotionally and physically.
- The child strongly dislikes anything associated with the targeted parent, such as their belongings, interests, or even their name if it is shared with the parent.
- The child denies the existence of the targeted parent or pretends they are not related to them.
- The child says they would be better off if the targeted parent was not in their life.
- The child believes the lies and distortions about the targeted parent that they have been told without question.
- The child lacks empathy or compassion for the targeted parent and does not care about their feelings or experiences.
- The child is willing to go along with the plans of the parent they are being alienated from, even if it harms the other parent.
- The child seems happy about the situation and does not seem to miss the targeted parent or want them to be back in their life.
What should you not say to an alienated child?
There are a few things you should avoid saying to an alienated child, as they can further damage the relationship and make the situation worse. Here are some examples of things to avoid saying:
“I’m so sorry that your other parent is making you feel this way.”
“It must be really tough for you to deal with all this.”
“Do you want to talk about what’s going on?”
Instead, focus on building a positive relationship with the child and showing them that you care. Avoid talking about the negatives of the other parent, and instead, focus on being a positive force in the child’s life. Let them know that they can always come to you if they need.
How do you reverse the effects of Parental Alienation Syndrome?
It is possible to reverse the effects of Parental Alienation Syndrome, but it takes a lot of hard work and time. The alienated parent must do everything in their power to rebuild the relationship with their child, and the child must be willing to forgive and forget.
It’s not always easy to repair a broken relationship, but it’s worth the effort if there’s still a chance for reconciliation. Parents who have been alienated from their children often feel crushed, helpless, and alone. But don’t give up hope – there is always a chance for things to improve if you’re willing to fight for it.
Can I call cps for parental alienation?
Yes, you can call CPS for parental alienation. Parental alienation is when a parent or caregiver withdraws love and support from a child in an attempt to damage their relationship with the other parent.
This can happen in divorce or separation, which can devastate the child and the targeted parent. If you believe your child is being subjected to this treatment, you should contact CPS for help. They will be able to assess the situation and provide guidance on how to best protect your child from further harm.