Finding a way to effectively detect parental alienation is important in any custody or divorce situation. The warning signs that alert a child is suffering from Parental Alienation Syndrome are not always clear, which is why it is important to keep a record of any behavior that is suspect and keep a detailed record including dates, times, things said, behavior issues and note any “secrets” your child may be keeping. I have experienced alienating parents keeping secrets with their child as a way of building a bond with the child and alienating the other parent.

Warning Signs to Help Detect Parental Alienation

  • Quick to Anger: If a child is actively being alienated, he will be under a great deal of stress and it is unlikely that they have the skills to deal with that stress and will be quick to anger.
  • Suffering from Low Self Esteem: When a child is told and believes that his other parent is bad or unworthy it makes them feel bad and/or unworthy since they are a part of that other parent.
  • No Impulse Control: Again, children under stress without the maturity and tools to deal with it can lash out, fight, throw things, make bad decisions.
  • Experiencing Separation Anxiety: Children are often very anxious about leaving the “safe” or alienating parent to be with the “unsafe” or alienated parent.
  • Showing Signs of Depression: Divorce and/or separation is very difficult on children and with the addition of an alienating parent depression may increase.
  • Experiencing Sleeping Problems: Children may have difficulty sleeping, have bad dreams because of their fear of being with the alienated parent and away from the alienating parent.
  • Suffering from Eating Disorders: Children may feel they need to gain control over something in their lives and what they choose to eat could develop into an eating disorder which could then get the parents attention
  • Experiencing Problems in School: A child who is in an alienation situation would tend to have more problems in school with the stress leading to an inability to concentrate and lack of impulse control leading to behavior problems.
  • Signs of Drug and Alcohol Abuse: Studies have shown that alienated children have a greater danger of using drugs and alcohol. This is a result of the parents being oppositional to one another. There is no united front. The child realizes that if the parents are not talking to each other then he or she can get away with things another child with parents who were communicating may not.

An Alienated Child Will Choose a Side

False Allegations of Parental Alienation and the Narcissistic Parent

Dealing with False Accusations of Parental Alienation

  1. Keep a detailed diary of things that are being said and things that are taking place during parenting time.
  2. Request a GAL be appointed to reparent the child.
  3. Request court intervention if necessary
  4. Deposition of accuser
  5. Talk to adults around the child regularly (teachers, counselors, coach, religious leaders)
  6. Get the child into therapy with someone trained to work with children of divorce
  7. Maintain your relationship with your child / keep all court order contact
  8. Avoid negative interactions with the other parent
  9. Never disparage the other parent in front of your child

Alienation of a child against the other parent is taken very seriously by the family court system because it has been shown to have lasting harmful effects on the child. Many states have factors that include “facilitating a relationship between the child(ren) and the other parent” and if this is not done, as in the case with an alienating parent, that parent is likely to lose custody and may even be restricted to supervised visitation.

Asking the Right Questions to Prove or Disprove Parental Alienation

  1. Remember it is your relationship and your time with your child it is most important to you.
  2. Create a chronology or outline of everything over a specific time frame; make it detailed for preparation; have the client review with family members to get everything down because if they are truly being alienated there will be plenty of evidence to support the claim.
  3. You need to prove that the other parent is actively destroying the relationship between your client and the child. Hire an evaluator. Bring up when you cared for the child alone for nights, weekends all times during the time you were together.
  4. Interview the witnesses have been interviewed.
  5. Your goal again is to not proof that you are right and that you are innocent your goal is to prove that the other parent has actively done this.
  6. Prepare this parenting plan with as much detail as you can to show them what is best by being prepared to show how you can do better and facilitate — don’t just say you are prepared, be prepared.
  7. Take a parenting class — be proactive.

Detecting parental alienation in a parent-child relationship or dealing with false allegations of parental alienation are serious matters with lasting consequences. Please contact our family law attorneys today to schedule a confidential consultation if you have concerns about parental alienation and how to proceed.

THIS ARTICLE WAS PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED AT: https://illinoislawforyou.com/child-custody-visitation/how-detect-parental-alienation/

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