Parental Alienation: Part 2

Hi there,

Parental alienation in the divorce process may be an unavoidable fact of life.  Bad situations can make good people behave in destructive ways, and, of course, not everyone pursuing divorce is a good person.

As I started to discuss in my last post, there seems to me to be a dramatic increase in the number of divorce cases I see with parental alienation involving children age 10 to 18 (and older). In these situations with this particular age group there seems to be a changed dynamic: Dad is most often the parent with whom the alienated children are allied. With younger children the literature seems to say it is primarily mom with whom the kids ally.

Also in most of the cases I have seen (and there have been too many) there is often more than one child involved. The children also tend to be encouraging each other in the alienating behavior, with the older children pushing the younger into it.

In every case of older children alienation that I have handled, there has been an overlay of either physical violence or severe emotional abuse. In the cases of emotional abuse the denigration of mom by dad gets picked up and magnified by the kids. When the intact home breaks up, the kids’ model of denigration lends itself to alienation.

There is no good solution for this when it hits the divorce process.  Judges, attorneys and guardian ad litem all struggle with it. I have yet to see anything the courts or parties do have any kind of an immediate effect. The best resolution seems to be when a spouse becomes controlling and emotionally abusive, the relationship should come to an end BEFORE the kids catch it.

If you are in a situation where you believe your children are alienated, look immediately to find a counselor and a lawyer who are familiar with this area.