Parental alienation is a form of child abuse

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As a parent, you have likely cherished the time with your family. While your obligations at work may have kept you busy, you made the most of the time with your children and marveled at how they grew so quickly. Now you begin to feel that bond slipping away.

Even before your divorce, you may have heard your spouse make subtle comments about you to the children. Perhaps your spouse's explosive personality had taught you not to use contradiction or confrontation, but now you realize your spouse may be turning your children against you. It may seem like this is a personal matter, but if those efforts to alienate you from your children deny you your rights as a parent, you may consider seeking legal counsel to discuss your options.

What is parental alienation syndrome?

If you feel that your children are pulling away from you or behaving negatively toward you, you may be the victim of parental alienation syndrome. This occurs when one parent convinces the children to turn against the other parent. You may brush off your child's behavior as typical for that age or see it as emotional backlash from the divorce, but there are signs that a more serious issue is at hand:

  • You may begin to hear your child say derogatory things about you similar to things your spouse has said.
  • Your child may become argumentative or attempt to provoke you into anger.
  • Your child may be uncharacteristically defiant or indifferent to your requests.
  • You may find yourself excluded from school functions, parent meetings or other activities, supposedly at the child's request.
  • Your child may not remember any previous positive experiences you shared.
  • Your child may begin to balk at coming to your house for scheduled custody days.

Some psychologists suggest that children may find it easier to reject a loving parent who is mentally healthy than a manipulative parent who may have a personality disorder.

The damage PAS may cause

A parent who uses children as a weapon against a former spouse may be guilty of a form of child abuse. Experts say it is abusive to alienate an otherwise loving parent and deny the child that important relationship. Parental alienation may cause lifelong damage to a child, making it difficult for him or her to trust even the most intimate relationships.

If you believe you and your children are the victims of your former spouse's effort to alienate you from each other, you may wish to avoid a direct confrontation. Instead, seek the advice of a Florida counselor for your child's sake. Additionally, to preserve your own rights, you may find the advice of a legal professional helpful.

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