Child custodyChild custody cases are stressful in many ways, and the problem does not affect just the grown-ups involved. Children usually suffer the most, especially if the parents continue to fight. A more difficult and stressful custody situation arises, however, when one parent tries to brainwash a child’s mind by bad-mouthing the other parent. Blaming a spouse for all the family problems and saying derogatory remarks can lead parental alienation.

A child may not want to talk or see the other parent after being badmouthed by another. Child custody lawyers say that alienation can be difficult to reverse if it reaches this point. This is because permanent damage is done to the child and to the relationship with the alienated parent.

Alienating Behaviors and Conduct

Warning symptoms of parental alienation include telling the child reasons for divorce or denying the other parent access to school or other activities. These also includes blaming the other parent for causing the family relationship to fall apart, asking the child to choose one parent over the other, and refusing to be flexible with the visitation schedule.

Motivators for Parental Alienation

Intentions for parental alienation differ according to each parent. Psychologists say, however, that one possible motivator is that the parent may have unresolved problems with their spouse. The alienating parent may also have a personality disorder, which makes them unable to see the harm done to the child. Kids, on other hand, may buy into a parent’s brainwashing because they feel the need to protect a parent or want to avoid anger or rejection from one parent.

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The Role of Psychologists

The process of changing or challenging the custody arrangement may involve psychological evaluation, which may take three months to one year. The psychologists may also suggest a reunification plan, which will involve therapy. Therapy for families can be beneficial to protect the child and the relationship with the other parent. In case reunification does not work, a new psychologist will do a re-evaluation.

Courts acknowledge parental alienation and have ways to address it. Those who fall victim to alienation can get help from a family lawyer. Alienated parents should get professional help to handle a legally complex and emotionally charged case.