There is such a thing as covert parental alienation. It is subtle, but real never the less.
- Refusing to let your child speak to the other parent when he calls such excuses as ” he’s doing homework” or “watching TV”.
- Arranging fun things to do as a tempting alternative when the child should be with the other parent.
- Suggesting that you will be lonely and sad when the child is with the other parent.
- Refusing to be flexible on contact arrangements.
- Making holiday arrangements difficult.
- Refusing to let the child go for contact if he has the slightest health issue, such as a cold.
These subtle alienation techniques can rapidly degenerate into hostile parenting.
You know when you are being unreasonable but here a few obvious examples which cause children extreme emotional damage and harm:
- Undermining and criticising the other parent to the child.
- Blaming the other parent for your poor financial situation and comparing life styles: “If your dad loved you he’d take you on holiday instead of his girlfriend”.
- Interfering in contact – continually ringing the child to check he is ok and hence suggesting to the child that there is a possibility his father (and it is usually the father) cannot care for him properly.
- Preventing the child spending important memorable days such as Father’s Day, birthdays and Christmas with the father.
- Involving the child in the divorce and sharing details of the settlement and negotiations with the child.
- Asking the child to lie to the other parent.
- Interrogating the child as to what the other parent is doing.
The list can run to over 40 different hostile behaviours, and the parent typically succeeds in destroying a previously good, loving relationship and causing extensive emotional harm to their own child, whilst insisting that it is all the fault of their ex.
Research into adults who have lived through such abuse can be compared to cult survivors. Those who work it out for themselves have better outcomes, usually reject the hostile parent and with therapy are able to escape the cycle for their own children.
One scary outcome of extensive research is that a number of the adults aligned themselves with the parent with power, not the parent best able to look after their well being and a significant percentage reported sexual, physical and emotional abuse at the hands of the alienating parent.
Still want to tell your child his dad is a loser?