Are you participating in Parental Alienation?

09 Apr

ParentalAlienationParental alienation seems to be a big topic these days. It wasn’t a term that I was familiar with when I was going through a divorce. This is when one parent purposely turns the child against the other parent. It is a form of brainwashing and as a result the child or children usually get angry with, or doesn’t want to be with, the parent that is alienated. “The New Definition of Parental Alienation” by Douglas Darnall.

Often these children don’t realize what’s happening to them. It usually starts with one parent verbally bashing or belittling the other one and eventually moves on to planting seeds of doubt so that the child actually starts to believe that the other parent is a bad parent, doesn’t care about them, perhaps doesn’t love them, and that their life would be better off without them. Sometimes the child joins in with their own alienating agenda because they have been successfully brainwashed.

As I think back over the years I believe that I have witnessed parents doing this to their children. At the time I knew they were wrong saying the things that they said to their children but didn’t know it actually had a name or how damaging it could be.? Courts are becoming more and more aware of this horrible practice. Children are the ones who suffer and they are robbed of a loving relationship with their parent. To make matters worse in the past most therapist and counselors did not recognize this type of behavior and often believed that the alienated parent must have done something to deserve it. Now, there are numerous books on the subject.

Please think twice before you say something bad about your child’s parent. It is a form of robbery. You are robbing that child of a close relationship with someone who is important in their life. Please know that research shows that children benefit by having healthy relationships with both parents. If and when your children figures out what you have done they will be very hurt, confused, and may never forgive you.

I had a friend whose mother divorced her biological father and married another man when she was very young. They told her that her father had died and convinced her and her siblings that he was a bad person . She found out that her father was alive and met him when she was 45 years old. He had always longed for a relationship with her and was so excited when she found him. She was mortified that her mother had lied and kept her from her biological father for more than 40 years. Her relationship with her mother has never been the same and fortunately for her she now has a wonderful relationship with her estranged father. If you are a victim of parental alienation and your ex-spouse is bashing you, to your children, and continually trying to undermine you it is important that you speak truth to your kids. Being too passive in this type of situation can cause more damage than good. If the alienation is the point of hostility, it’s important that you get professional help and pick someone who is familiar with this type of co-parenting abuse. There are many professionals who specialize in this area.

The alienation is not always by a spouse it can also come from a family member,  as well. Be aware of who your children are spending time and be aware of changes in their behavior when they are around you. Sometimes there are legitimate reasons for children to be protected from an abusive or violent parent but that is not the case with parental alienation. If you feel that you have been participating in parental alienation or are a victim of it please read the book “Divorce Poison” by Dr. Richard A. Warshak. I would like you to know that if you are engaging in parental alienation and the courts determine that you have purposely undermined your child’s parent you could lose custody or have restricted custody because of your maliciousness. Please try to put your children’s needs first and stop bashing the other parent. At My Turn Your Turn we try to encourage parents to be the best co-parents they can be and often that involves having to create a system where they can co- parent and communicate in a way that is nonverbal. Please check out our site at and see the tools that we have prepared to make that part of your life easier. We’d also love to hear your thoughts on parental alienation.


Visit us on our official website at My Turn Your Turn is a co-parenting website designed to help organize families and improve communication between co-parents sharing children due to divorce or separation.  Specializing in co-parenting tools and shared parenting resources including an online custody calendar,  online divorce journal, child support tracker and more for blended families, single parents and high conflict divorce cases.


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