How to overcome parental alienation in divorce

When one parent in a divorce is alienated by the other through bashing and over-sharing with the kids, the alienated parent needs to take care to maintain a positive relationship.

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  • All too often parents want to rage about their ex after the divorce and vent about the other parent with their children. But the results can be devastating. Sure, divorce conflicts between parents can get ugly. But too often we forget the effects, not only on the targeted parent, but also on your innocent children. This becomes a form of parental alienation, a serious and complex set of behaviors, that are designed to win the emotions and support of children in favor of one parent against the other. Most often, that parent feels fully justified in their behaviors and doesn’t see the harm in the alienation.

  • Of course, the biggest consequence is that the children get caught in the middle and are often confused about being told disrespectful things about their other parent. In time, children learn to manipulate both parents — pitting one against the other in ways that are destructive for the child’s socialization and ultimate well-being.

  • This is dangerous territory with long-lasting consequences. How you handle the situation can affect your family for years to come and play a crucial role in the well-being of your children.

  • To help heal your relationship with your children should you be a targeted parent of alienation, here are some valuable strategies to consider:

  • Remember, your children are innocent

  • Don’t take your frustrations out on them by losing your tempter, acting aggressively, shaming or criticizing them.

  • Avoid impressing

  • or buying the kids’ affection with over-the-top gifts and promises. Spoiled children create a life-time of parenting problems for everyone down the road.

  • Don’t waste precious time

  • with the children discussing or trying to change their negative attitudes toward you. Instead, create new enjoyable experiences and reminisce about past times together that were fun.

  • refrain from accusing the children of being brain-washed

  • Temping as it may be, refrain from accusing the children of being brain-washed by their other parent or just repeating what they were told. Even if this is true, chances are the children will adamantly deny it and come away feeling attacked by you.

  • Don’t ever bad-mouth your ex in front of the kids

  • This only creates more alienation, along with confusion and further justification of your negative portrayal to the children. Be the parental role model they deserve and you will be giving them valuable lessons in integrity, responsibility and respect.

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  • Strive to maintain contact with the children

  • in every possible way. Use all the newest technology tools available to talk, text, email, share videos and play online games. Take the initiative whenever an opportunity presents itself.

  • The effects of parental alienation will not be transformed overnight. But by following these suggestions you are moving in a healthy direction on behalf of your children and laying the foundation for keeping your relationship as positive as possible.

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Rosalind is the voice of Child-Centered Divorce, and author of "How Do I Tell the Kids About the Divorce." She writes for many publications including HopeAfterDivorce.org and FamilyShare.com. Visit her site at www.childcentereddivorce.com.

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