During a divorce, a lot of details often end up overlooked in the stress. Your child’s other parent might use this as an opportunity to attempt driving a wedge between you and your child.
This may be parental alienation, and it is a real issue divorcing parents face every day. You will do well to learn to keep an eye out for signs of it.
Parental alienation as abuse
The Psychiatric Times discusses parental alienation and how it works. The alienating parent uses any number of tactics to convince your child to put distance between you. Courts often classify these tactics as a form of child psychological abuse. Tactics can include classic forms of abuse such as gaslighting and manipulation.
In short, parental alienation can scar your child as much as any other form of abuse. These repercussions can last well into adulthood and impact your child’s mental and physical well-being.
Small warning signs
Thus, you must keep an eye out for early warning signs of parental alienation. First, your child may grow increasingly critical of you and your actions. This could look like picking arguments more often and over smaller things or expressing dislike over the way you handle household affairs, despite not having any issues with them before.
You will likely notice behavioral differences, too. Some children become withdrawn, gloomy and depressed. They may withdraw from social contact and stop communicating with friends. Others lash out. They may cut ties with peers and struggle to respect authority figures.
Regardless of the symptoms, you should always treat the possibility of parental alienation as a serious threat.