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The Effects of Parental Alienation

 Posted on March 06, 2017 in Child Custody

Texas custody attorney, Texas family law attorneyIn 1985, psychiatrist Richard Gardner coined the term parental alienation syndrome (PAS) to describe a set of behaviors exhibited by children whose parents deliberately attempt to turn them against the other parent through a variety of coercive or manipulative techniques. Unfortunately, PAS occurs at an alarming rate, especially during emotional and stressful divorces or disputes over child custody; as such, if you or a loved one has children and is considering a divorce, it is important to contact an experienced complex child custody attorney who can ensure that the interests of your children are protected.

Parental Alienation Defined

Parental alienation involves the manipulation of a child by one parent to denigrate the other parent, essentially forcing the child to choose sides. This can lead the child to emotionally reject the targeted parent, which can have lifelong repercussions for both parties. Many parents may even be unaware that they are contributing to parental alienation, which could include any of the following activities:

  • Bad mouthing one parent;
  • Limiting contact with the other parent;
  • Forbidding discussion about or images of the other parent;
  • Forcing the child to reject the other parent;
  • Creating the impression that the other parent is dangerous; and
  • Demanding that the child choose between the parties by threatening a withdrawal of affection.

The Consequences of PAS

Even when a parent is unaware of the alienation that he or she is causing, the consequences for the child can be severe and include:

  • Low self-esteem;
  • Self-hatred;
  • Lack of trust; and
  • Depression.

These problems can go on to affect a child long after he or she is grown and can permanently damage the relationship between the child and his or her parents.

Precautionary Measures

To avoid unintentionally alienating a child from his or her other parent during a divorce, it is important for both parents to take the following steps:

  • Refrain from telling the child the details of the divorce proceedings;
  • Allow the other parent access to school and medical records as well as schedules for extracurricular activities;
  • Refrain from offering opinions about the other parent’s lifestyle or assigning blame for the divorce;
  • Remain flexible when it comes to visitation schedules;
  • Refrain from asking the child about the other parent’s personal life;
  • Comply with all court orders; and
  • Allow the child to have private conversations with the other parent.

Divorces and custody disputes are notoriously emotional undertakings and alienating a child from the other parent will only cause more damage in the long run.

Contact Us Today to Speak With an Experienced Complex Child Custody Attorney

To help prevent parental alienation, it is important for divorcing couples to retain experienced counsel who can help them ensure that the proceedings remain professional and courteous at all times. If you are considering a divorce, please contact the skilled Georgetown complex child custody attorneys at Powers Kerr & Rashidi, PLLC today.




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