Divorce is a stressful and emotionally traumatic process. Tensions and tempers may rise between the divorcing spouses, and children are often caught in the middle. Even after the divorce, one parent may try to influence the children against the other parent through subtle or overt techniques. This is known as parental alienation.
Studies have shown that parental alienation causes emotional harm to children. When one parent criticizes or portrays the other parent in a negative light, it can cause children to feel like they are also bad, since they share a physical and emotional connection with the other parent. Furthermore, unless there is a risk of physical, mental, or emotional harm, children should be able to enjoy a positive relationship with both parents. Denying them this opportunity can result in mental and emotional trauma.
How Can You Help Prevent Parental Alienation?
1. Check Your Words
When talking about the other parent in the presence of your children, be careful with what you say. Criticizing the other parent, highlighting negative qualities, and degrading the moral character of the other parent can create parental alienation. You should also watch your tone of voice and how you speak about the other parent. Children are very astute to nonverbal communication, and will notice if you are being sarcastic or untruthful. Being aware of your words and tone can help prevent parental alienation.
2. Check Your Actions
Parental alienation is not only caused by words, but it is also caused by actions. This may involve throwing away mail or presents that the other parent sends, slamming the phone on the other parent, or preventing the other parent from coming near the children. If there is no threat of harm, you should try to be cooperative and encourage a positive relationship between your children and your ex-spouse. By monitoring your actions regarding how you treat the other parent, you can help avoid parental alienation.
3. Check Your Emotions
A messy divorce can result in hurt feelings, anxiety, and anger toward the other parent. However, you should do everything you can to protect your children from the negative emotional impact of the divorce. This means you may have to bite your tongue, watch your tone, and control your temper when interacting with the other parent. Chances are you will have to regularly communicate with your ex-spouse regarding child visitation, custody, and support payments. Using an online forum or third parties to communicate, as well as preparing yourself mentally before interacting with your ex-spouse, can help reduce tension and prevent parental alienation.
Compassionate Legal Assistance for Divorce & Family Law Matters
At Rozin | Golinder Law, we provide knowledgeable representation to clients in a variety of divorce and family law cases. We know the process is stressful, and will answer your questions and keep you informed from start to finish. Parental alienation is harmful for everyone involved, especially for the children. Our East Brunswick divorce attorneys will work diligently on your behalf as you seek a positive solution.
Contact us today for a free consultation.