The damages of alienating a child against a parent have long been recognised but it was seldom that these issues were tackled expediently by the court. With destructive and long-term consequences for both the parents and children involved, the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass) are now trialing a groundbreaking initiative to tackle the problem. In extreme cases, divorcing parents could lose custody or be denied contact with their children if they attempt to turn a child against the other.
5 common signs that a child is being affected by parental alienation
- The child mimics the opinions of the alienating parent yet denies that there is any influence from one parent and insists that the ideas are their own. They may blame the target parent for causing the divorce.
- The child develops negative feelings towards the target parent and views the alienating parent as all good and all wise, never questioning whether what they say or do is right.
- The child may be resistant to go to visits, angry about visits, or refuse to spend time or visit the target parent altogether.
- The child’s negative feelings are directed towards the target parent’s extended family, they may also refuse visits or contact with them.
- The reasons the child claims not to want a relationship with the target parent are generally not based upon personal experiences and appear to be unjustified. They are often unable to really explain why they are upset with the alienated parent.
If you believe that parental alienation is becoming an issue in your separation or divorce, speak to your family lawyer or an advice service about it. Cafcass has developed a parenting programme for separating parents which helps understand how to put children first and manage conflicts and difficulties.
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