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Dealing with Parental Alienation in Divorce
16 Jul, 2024
Child Custody

Dealing with Parental Alienation in Divorce

Parental alienation is something that commonly occurs in some highly contentious divorces or other situations where two parents aren’t married, but both have parenting time with the children. It happens when one parent tries to turn the children against their other parent. Unfortunately, parents who do the alienating can’t understand that their view of their ex-spouse isn’t generally reality to their children or the rest of the world. Alienating parents harbor a lot of anger and need someone to turn their anger towards. That someone ends up being the other parent. 

If you’re attempting to parent a child who now believes you are bad or unworthy is challenging at best. You might find that your child refuses to see you, appears to hate you, or suddenly doesn’t want to listen to what you have to say. Here are some tips for dealing with being the target of parental alienation.

Deal with Bad-Mouthing and Lies

Of course, the say nothing approach works in some situations, but parental alienation is not one of them. You don’t want to buy into any drama, but you do want to stand up for yourself and deal with the situation. Never be afraid to discuss the facts with an unemotional and unbiased tone. You may need to repeat yourself often.

Encourage Direct Discussions

A large part of parental alienation involves isolating the child from the targeted parent, allowing the child only to get a one-sided view of the targeted parent or the situation. Sadly, children in these situations often begin to believe the alienating parent. To do your part in stopping this, encourage your child to always come to you if they have questions about anything anyone tells them about you or if they have heard something that worries them or makes them feel bad. Even if your child doesn’t believe what you have to say, they need to hear the truth from you. Later on, your answers and viewpoints might make more sense to them. 

Avoid Emotional Reactions

It’s only human to have strong feelings if you are the targeted parent. However, your child is watching you. Not only are they watching how you react to the situation, but they are also watching and learning from you. Take the high road and don’t speak negatively about your ex around your children. Reach out for help if you need it. You may want to consider:

  • Counseling
  • Medication
  • Exercise
  • Journaling
  • Support groups
  • Meditation

Don’t Stop Reaching Out

Even if you don’t have custody of your child or your child refuses to see you, you should still take advantage of chances to be present in your child’s life. Send emails, texts, birthday cards, or presents. Call them, come to school events or performances. You may not get a friendly response, or you may even fail to get any response. However, your child will likely remember what you did or didn’t do during these times. Always focus on your intentions and not the outcome. Now isn’t the time to disappear from your child’s life. 

Have Patience

Rebuilding your relationship with your child won’t happen overnight. It’s a marathon for sure. It may take several years or even into their adulthood before things change, and you reap the rewards of your efforts. At this point, don’t worry about the outcome; focus on your intentions for reconnecting. 

Questions about Parental Alienation? An Experienced Illinois Divorce Lawyer Can Help

No parent deserves to be the target of parental alienation, but sadly, far too many are. If you find yourself in this position, there is hope. With the help of a skilled Illinois divorce attorney from the Suburban Law Group, LLC, you can work towards resolving these issues and rebuilding your relationship with your child. Contact us today to speak with one of our attorneys and find out how we can help you if you are the parent being alienated. You have legal rights, and we are here to protect them.



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