Divorce may bring out the worst in people, especially when trying to vie for children’s affection. For some, it develops into a competition that rises to the level of parental alienation.
When one parent psychologically manipulates children into turning on the other, it results in long-term damage to the relationship. Some relationships become so strained that children become convinced by the toxic parent that the other no longer loves or wants them. Learn about parental alienation and some common signs that go along with it.
The warning signs
If the divorce was particularly contentious, and one party felt more bitter at the demise of the marriage, there is a chance that parental alienation comes into play. The anger may motivate one parent to start undermining the other. Children are susceptible to psychological manipulation at any age, but those who are younger may fall victim quicker. When the innocent parent starts noticing changes in behavior, including a retreat of physical affection, it may mean the children are dealing with a toxic parent.
When a parent suspects the other is playing psychological warfare with their children, the court may become involved. In North Carolina, family court judges do not look kindly on parents interfering with the relationship between children and each other. Thus, seeking a custody modification may help. Remember, the children’s best interests always come first in the eyes of the court. If they are dealing with an angry parent’s psychological trauma, it may result in a custody change.
Children of divorce need emotional support and reassurance from both parents. When one is doing everything possible to damage the relationship with the other, it may do irreparable harm to the children. Taking swift action in the face of parental alienation is key to salvaging the relationship.