5 steps to preventing parental alienation

Category: Children, Divorce, Family

Parental alienation is, for want of a better word, terrifying. It is something we sincerely hope you never have to experience. The long-term effects on the children and the alienated parent can be really damaging. In short, parental alienation is where a child – either intentionally or unintentionally – becomes distanced from one parent without a good reason. This can be because they’re coached to dislike the other parent. It can also happen because they have repeatedly overheard negative conversations about that parent.

If this is happening to you or you’re concerned it might happen in the future, we’re here to help. We’ve compiled a list of 5 simple steps to help prevent and stop parental alienation. These are by no means comprehensive. But they’re a good starting point and will put you in a good position to challenge the alienation.

If you would like more information on parental alienation, please click here to read our article.

1. Be aware of the signs

Is your child speaking badly about you, or perhaps in a way that seems ‘adult’? Are they telling lies about you or repeatedly making comments that they seem to be repeating from someone else?

It is important to be aware that separations can be difficult. Parents can sadly reach a point where they cannot speak about each other positively. However, it is vital to be aware of little ears listening to adult conversations and being exposed to the bitterness. These comments can have a huge impact on the emotional well-being of the children. Parental alienation can be unintentional as well as intentional.

2. Do not act in anger

Parental alienation is upsetting, of course. It is natural to feel angry when you feel that your child is being alienated from you. I think we’d all feel that. You’re definitely not alone.

It is understandable that you might feel like ‘lashing out’ to explain how you feel. Maybe you want to speak to your children about it. But this is really important – that’s not a good idea. No matter how angry you are, it is always sensible to take a deep breath and cool off.

The long term impact to children of being drawn into adult disputes or being told harmful things about family members is hard to overestimate. Children suffer long term psychological harm when exposed to parental disputes and conscious or unconscious alienation. It is the responsibility of both parents and the wider family to protect children from this.

Speaking badly about the other parent in front of the children is never a good idea. It puts the child in the middle of a conflict that they cannot resolve. may even result in the child more firmly siding with the other parent and reinforce the things they are being told or exposed to about you.

3. Keep a diary of concerning behaviours

This may prove very useful for you later on if you need to produce a timeline of your children’s alienation. Keeping a note of days, times and what is said or how your child is behaving will help you remember events with more accuracy.

It goes without saying that you should also keep any text messages or emails, voice notes or voicemails as these may be vital evidence in your case.

4. Speak to a lawyer

If you feel that your children are being alienated from you, speaking to a lawyer will set your mind at ease and enable you to take early action. The more entrenched alienation becomes, the harder it is to resolve, so early action is important.

You can discuss your concerns and the behaviour of your children with your lawyer. They can then give you advice about your options. If it is agreed that parental alienation may be an issue, early action is likely to be advised. Your lawyer can also give you advice about improving the situation. This is a good idea especially if parental alienation does not appear to be a current factor.

Nash & Co Solicitors offer an initial meeting with a lawyer for £150 plus VAT. We can accept instructions from anywhere in the country at the current time. The initial meeting includes a letter of advice following your appointment.

Our initial meetings are relaxed and friendly. All of our lawyers are approachable and will take the time to listen to you. You can also be safe in the knowledge that we will not be clock-watching during your initial appointment either. It is your opportunity to tell us your concerns and to receive advice you can rely on going forward.

5. Don’t give up

We understand that disputes about children are upsetting and parental alienation can be particularly difficult to deal with. You may feel like giving up when your children persistently speak badly about you or don’t want to see you, but sometimes this is just a short term reaction to the situation which can change if the correct actions are taken.

It is important to remember that your children deserve you in their life and that the starting point for the court is that children benefit from a relationship with both of their parents.

It can be a long process but following the steps above and seeking advice is the best and most efficient way to prevent and stop parental alienation and build your relationship with your children back to where it should be.

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What now?

The COVID pandemic has made it a lot easier for us to work for clients living in other parts of the country. We’ve always been able to do it, but Zoom, Teams and other technology means that distance is no longer a barrier.

If you’d like us to help you, or you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact our Family team on 01752 827030. You can also email the team at [email protected] or ask us to give you a call by completing our Contact Form.