One of the most difficult situations anyone can ever encounter in life is losing your children and this can happen when your ex-partner turns them against you.
- Parental alienation is where one parent does things (you can call it brainwashing, alienating, or programming) to make a child not want to see or even know the other parent.
- Parental alienation syndrome (PAS) describes the child’s behaviour in response to the alienation.
If your former partner is making false criticisms about you to your child, this can lead to parental alienation and parental alienation syndrome in the child. At its worst the allegations can lead to the involvement of the police and social services with dire consequences such as convictions for sexual offences or violence and any contact at all with the child being forbidden.
Parental alienation syndrome is daunting in a court setting because it’s hard to prove. Read our advice for how to prove parental alienation.
5 warning signs that parental alienation may be happening:
- Your ex prevents you from seeing or talking to your child on the phone or online. Your ex tells your child that you are too busy, preoccupied or uninterested in them.
- Your ex is very controlling of how the child communicates with you. For example, they may try to monitor all phone calls, text messages, or interactions you have with the child.
- Your ex plans special activities timed to clash with you seeing the child. For example when you’re supposed to be having your child for the weekend your ex invites your child’s best friend to a sleepover and then asks your child what they want to do.
- Your ex bends or breaks the shared parenting or contact plan which has been agreed or ordered or refuses to compromise on reasonable flexibility. For example, your birthday falls on a day when contact is not agreed and your ex refuses to let the child come to your birthday tea.
- Your ex is secretive with information about your child. For example, not sharing medical information, school reports or information about your child’s likes, successes or failures so you gradually lose knowledge of your child and become less involved in their life.
5 warning signs of parental alienation syndrome in your child
- Your child unfairly criticises you without evidence, specific examples or justification.
- Your child’s feelings about you are all negative and you have no redeeming qualities.
- Your child claims the criticisms are all their own and based on their own independent thinking when in fact it’s obvious they’ve been fed these ideas by your ex.
- Your child doesn’t doesn’t seem to feel any guilt or regret about mistreating you or saying they hate you.
- Your child’s feelings of hatred toward you expand to include other family members, for example grandparents, causing even more family misery.
It’s very hard to defend yourself against parental alienation. You must keep records!
Many cases of parental alienation lead to one parent losing all contact with their child. These are difficult cases to prove and the best way to protect yourself is to keep a daily record of everything that happens involving your child, even good things because you never know when you will be accused of doing something bad when no such thing even happened. Record conversations or incidents with your ex. Your records will be crucial in proving that parental alienation is taking place if you can prove that your ex is lying or just exaggerating. The better the evidence the more ammunition you will have to defend yourself and you’ll improve your chances of success.
Jill Canvin 14 July 2020