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Parental alienation in the aftermath of divorce

As you may know, divorce can turn nasty with far-reaching consequences and effects. In cases with children, the ugliness typically increases ten-fold as parents battle it out in court in an effort to prove who is better.

Following a divorce, one parent may feel more animosity than the other. As a way to get back at an ex, one may begin influencing the children to have negative feelings toward the other parent. This cycle is a form of emotional abuse called parental alienation, and it may leave one parent's relationship in shambles.

Parental alienation involves manipulation

The hallmark of parental alienation is making children choose one parent over another through manipulation. It usually begins innocently enough, but then it gets worse. For instance, a custodial parent may be angry that the noncustodial parent has remarried. The custodial parent may start making comments to the children about the new spouse and eventually move the children to believe that the noncustodial parent chose the new spouse over them.

Parental alienation leaves children shattered

If children wrongly believe one parent left them or does not care for them, it can have devastating consequences. Children will begin to cater to the custodial parent and may believe everything that is said about the noncustodial parent. As they grow, they may stop seeing things as they are and only view things as the custodial parent taught them to see them. As in the example above, if the custodial parent has shamed children into believing a stepparent is mean, even if it is not true, the children may believe it and react accordingly.

In Colorado, the courts take parental alienation allegations seriously. The psychological warfare using children against their other parent is something the judicial system views as emotional abuse.

If you notice a change in your child's behavior or demeanor toward you, or if your child stops wanting to see you suddenly, you may be dealing with parental alienation. In these instances, it is a good idea to seek the guidance of a professional to determine what needs to happen.

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