While co-parenting tends to always be in the children’s best interests, in some cases, one parent may try to sever the children’s connection with the other parent. Parental alienation can become a severe problem as it can damage the parent-child relationship severely.
If your former spouse alienates you, you must act before it worsens.
Understanding the complexity of parental alienation
Children are often more hesitant to visit the alienated parent during the early or mild stages of parental alienation. As time passes, the children might resist more strongly or show signs of resentment and frustration throughout the visit.
The alienating parent generally pressures children to share their resentment towards the co-parent. They tend to share their criticisms with their children and may tell them stories or lies about your relationship to win their favor. In response, children feel guilty about enjoying their time with the alienated parent. They offer up the same harsh criticism with no justification.
Beginning the healing process
Parental alienation can become a form of child abuse. The children suffer, too, in ways that are similar to losing a parent to premature death. In severe cases of parental alienation, you want to take the healing process slowly. Do not force children to reunify immediately because they may see it as punishment. Instead, you want to put the control back in their hands.
Working with a psychiatrist or other mental health professional can help you strategize and build a plan to help you and your children become close again after struggling with parental alienation.