Being divorced is indeed tough. Aside from the fact that you will be raising your child alone, you also need to face how society would react to your situation. Issues like this can be so troublesome that it may lead to parental alienation syndrome.
What Is Parental Alienation Syndrome?
Parental Alienation Syndrome is a dysfunctional relationship between the parents and the teen. Parent alienation may occur if the child is being influenced by one of the parents but also being rejected by the other.
Signs Of Parental Alienation
Below are some of the symptoms of Parental Alienation:
- Telling the reasons (in detail) of the divorce or bad marital relationship of the parents to the teen
- Being moved from one home to another
- Not giving the other parent access to the child’s essential documents
- Continuous blaming of the other parent for the things that caused the separation
- Having trouble with visits and schedules
- Pressuring the child to choose between both parents
- Brainwashing the child and making the child angry towards the other parent
- The presence of a step-parent and the other party wants to change the child’s name
- Extracting details from the child about the other parent for personal or legal use
- Creating situations to delay the other parent’s turn of visitation
- Showing the child how bad you feel about him/her for spending time with the other parent
- Demanding things that are out of the orders agreed in court
- Eavesdropping when the child is having a conversation with the other parent
Remember that one of the signs of depression, according to Stephanie Dowd, PsyD, is if you think the answer to this question is yes: “Has she had thoughts of suicide? If so it’s crucial you have her evaluated by a mental health professional immediately.”
What Causes Parental Alienation?
Parental alienation will not happen without a cause. Below are the identified signs of parental alienation:
- Unresolved resentment between both parents
- Unresolved childhood issues
- Personality disorder
- Being so attached to the teen that the parent perceives that the existence of the other parent is not necessary
If you do not want to suffer from this problem, Ariella Silver, PsyD says that “”There are certainly small changes you can make that may have a big impact.”
How Does Alienation Occur?
Alienating parents utilize the following means to manipulate the teen:
- Encouraging the child not to acknowledge the presence of the other parent.
- Being a critic of the other parent is a sign.
- Telling the child to deliver messages, to spy and similar actions is also one way to do it.
- Telling the child about the things that have happened in court and pressuring the child to choose between both parents.
- Instilling fear towards the other parent into the child’s mind is one of its signs.
- Fabricating stories or twisting facts on how the child is treated by the other parent.
- Suggesting that the other parent has no affection for the child is another example.
How Does An Alienated Child Look?
The following are indicators of an alienated teen:
- He will vocally disgrace the other parent.
- The child will have nasty behavior and direct their anger towards one of his parents.
- He will state that he loathes the other parent only and has no positive thing to say about the said parent.
- The child shows no remorse or guilt when the targeted parent gets hurt.
- He has no interest in doing things with the target parent’s family and friends.
- The child shows no interest in talking or seeing the other parent.
Why is this a problem? It is a significant concern because the parents are divorcing and the child is torn. He is lost and doesn’t know what to do. It is unfortunate enough that your parents are separating forever, but does the teen also have to be alienated? When he grows up, he will display many mental health issues for sure.
Bonnie Zucker, PsyD says “Protecting children from sadness, anxiety and stress is a natural instinct for many adults. But, finding ways to help them address these inevitable obstacles to happiness is a challenge parents, teachers and other caregivers have to face head on.”
With that said, is there help for this problem?
Watch out for the next article titled: Parental Alienation Syndrome – How To Resolve This Marital/Child Problem.