What is Parental Alienation?

When the relationship between two parents turns sour, children are often the individuals who suffer the most. This is as true when it comes to parental alienation as it is any other situation. Children benefit most from having two active and involved parents in their lives. When one parent seeks to eliminate the other from their child’s life, it can have negative effects that last throughout the child’s lifetime. It is important, in other words, to understand parental alienation, the different forms that it can take, and to understand what you can do about it.

At The Bloomston Firm, we have helped many individuals who were facing parental alienation cases. We understand the importance of moving quickly and addressing the issue immediately in order to help minimize the damage to the parent-child relationship. If you suspect that your child’s parent is alienating them from you, don’t wait to seek help. Instead, reach out to the attorneys at The Bloomston Firm today so that we can begin to plan your case.

There are five main categories of parental alienation.

These include:

• Disparagement
• False Allegations
• Parental Substitution
• Parentification
• Undermining Authority

We’re going to take a closer look at parental alienation and each of the above categories to help you arm yourself with knowledge should you ever end up in a situation where your child is being alienated from you.

Disparagement is often the first stage of parental alienation. It’s easy for the other parent to carry out and things tend to snowball from here. Disparagement occurs when one parent belittles or insults the other parent to the child in question or allows another individual to do so. Additionally, disparagement can occur when one parent uses divorce or custody hearings to place their child in a position where they are being fed negative information about the other parent.

False Allegations
This is a form of parental alienation that takes place when one parent accuses the other of child abuse or domestic violence when those allegations have no basis in the truth. If the accused has actually committed those crimes, then parental alienation under this particular category has not taken place. In order for this to qualify as parental alienation, one parent must make false allegations against the other. This is inherently, by the very consequences in place for these crimes, an attempt to limit a child’s contact with the accused. If these allegations are not addressed immediately and comprehensively, the accused might even find themselves without the ability to contact their child at all.

Parental Substitution
Parental substitution is a form of parental alienation where one parent attempts to replace the other. Note that this doesn’t refer to the simple act of moving on from a failed relationship and building a new one with another individual. If your former SO remarries and brings a new individual into your child’s life but does not attempt to limit your subsequent involvement, then parental alienation has likely not taken place. The same is true if the child in question was abandoned by one of their biological parents and the other eventually has a new SO whom the child considers their own parent.

Parental substitution occurs when one parent wants to be involved in their child’s life but the other parent attempts to replace them with someone else. Let’s say one SO remarries and attempts to convince their child that their new SO is the child’s second parent instead of their biological parent – that would be an instance of parental substitution.

Another form of parental alienation, and one particularly damaging in nature, is that of parentification. As the name suggests, this occurs when one parent pushes the child in question into a “parent” role. That means making them make their own decisions about things they are too young and immature to fully understand. This can include things like when to sleep, when to do homework, and even when and where to meet their friends without parental supervision.

This results in parental alienation in a few different ways. First of all, the child will eventually see themselves as their own parent and therefore value their actual parents’ input less as a result. Additionally, many parents will push their child to make their own decisions regarding whether or not they want to visit the other parent, which more directly results in a loss of parenting time and a reduced relationship with the child.

If you are experiencing parental alienation, it is important to act immediately. Reach out to the experienced attorneys at The Bloomston Firm for more information today.