A divorce can take a tremendous toll on anyone. Put simply, not only must you deal with the emotional weight of ending a marriage, but you may also face an uncertain future. If you have kids, though, you can focus on being a good parent. Unfortunately, for any number of reasons, your ex-spouse may try to sabotage the relationship you have with your kids.
Parental alienation occurs when one parent works to damage the other’s parent-child relationship. Many child psychologists consider it to be mental or emotional manipulation. Others call parental alienation a form of child abuse. Regardless, you must act quickly to stop parental alienation before it causes long-term harm to your kids. Here are three steps for doing so:
1. Maintain your relationship
If your former spouse is trying to turn your kids against you, you must be proactive. That is, you should not disconnect or otherwise withdraw from your children’s lives. On the contrary, you should continue to communicate with the young ones in your family through visitations, phone calls and text messages. You should also attend important events, such as parent-teacher conferences and extracurricular activities.
2. Document the behavior
Because parental alienation is sometimes inadvertent, you may be able to end it by talking to your spouse or going through mediation. If you must seek judicial intervention, though, you need a comprehensive record of your ex-spouse’s conduct. Therefore, keep a complete and contemporaneous journal that details the incidents you observe.
3. Modify your custody order
Family law judges in California tend to believe that parental alienation is not in the best interests of children. If you are unable to stop bad behaviors through other means, you may need to pursue a modification of your child custody order.
As a caring parent, you cannot allow anyone to harm the positive relationship you enjoy with your children. If your ex-spouse is actively trying to destroy that relationship, you must act quickly to stop parental alienation before it causes irreparable damage. After all, this type of behavior is not good for anyone in your family.