07 May Is my spouse alienating our children from me?
Parental Alienation and or ‘Parentification’ is when typically, one parent is repeatedly denied access to the child by the other parent.
The child often resides with the parent who is alienating the other parent. The parent being alienated generally has access to the child, but this access has been denied by the ‘alienating parent’ for one reason or the other. In cases like these, the alienated parent is not able to exercise his access time with the child. This can happen with existing court orders or without court orders. This type of behavior is unacceptable and not in the best interests of the child.
When a matter is heard in court, the court apply the best interests of the child test to determine the outcome of a case.
The child’s interests are best served by the parent who will not ‘alienate’ the child from the other parent and will ensure frequent contact with the other parent. Generally, the maximum contact with both parents is in the child’s best interest.
When parentification does take place, the research has shown that the child picks up the negative attitudes, sympathies, influences and emotional problems of the so called ‘favored parent’ with whom the child is often residing with. The experts warn that the child is growing up much faster than he or she should in these types of situations.
The research show that the children will often repeat the mistakes made by one parent and may make comments such as the ones below to the other parent:
• “he did this to us”
• “you did this to my mom”
• “you did this to my father”
• “my father/mother suffered”
The research also shows that the children often are unable to provide explanation or substantiate beyond the statements made above.
If the child keeps hearing negative comments from the alienating parent, the child may get into a defensive mode. The child uses this mechanism to deal with the stress by being defensive for the ‘alienating parent’. What parents must always remember is their children are young, impressionable and innocent, they will pick up on the parent’s emotions very easily. If you find yourself in this type of a situation and your child is acting like this, your children’s best interests are not served. It is not your child’s job to deal with your emotional issues which have arisen due to separation or the breaking up of the family unit.