Tips to Help You Overcome Parental Alienation
Divorce is a challenging and emotional experience for children and parents alike. Unfortunately, when one parent works to alienate shared children from the other, there are even greater hurdles for all. Today on the Children 4 Tomorrow blog, we’ll touch on a few different ways that you, as the alienated parent, can rebuild and maintain a relationship with your children.
Understand The Trauma
First and foremost, you have to understand that while you are hurting, your children are the ones that will suffer the greatest from parental alienation tactics brought about by your manipulative former counterpart. The Law Offices of Peter Van Aulen explains that parental alienation can cause self-hatred and begin a vicious cycle.
Mending The Relationship
Depending on the ages of the children and how long the mental abuse has been taking place, you may have to employ several different strategies to rebuild your relationship. A few of these include:
Making sure that you are available. Put your children first. This might mean carving out time, even if you have a busy schedule. You can also let your little ones help with chores, cooking, or even planning activities for your time together. Importantly, you also need to create shared experiences, which might include anything from a special bedtime routine to taking them on summer vacations that they’ll remember.
Keeping up with communication. Even if your former spouse or partner is trying to limit your communication with your kids, don’t give up. By reaching out, even if it’s just a text message or birthday card, you show your children they are always at the front of your mind.
Staying positive when talking about their other parents. No matter what your co-parent has told the kids about you, don’t stoop to their level. Your children are under enough stress already, and they should not have to carry the emotional burden of hearing both sides talk badly about the other. Remember, your kids are affected by everything you say and do, and speaking even negative truths about their other parent may push them further away.
Being patient. Divorce affects all children, but teenagers are particularly vulnerable. According to Midlife Divorce Recovery, your teens may be resentful, and this is only compounded by listening to negative talk from the other parent. Be patient and understanding; it can help to practice authoritative parenting, which means that you are still firm with your child but allow them to express themselves without fear. Remember, even angry children need structure, and it is your job to provide it to them while being sympathetic to their emotional state.
Seeking professional or legal help. No matter which state you live in, there are likely laws against parental alienation. If you have evidence that your former partner is badmouthing you to your children, then you might wish to seek legal help. You may also want to consider going to therapy with your children so that you can heal together in a positive and safe environment.
Parental alienation not only hurts the parent being shunned. It is a type of emotional abuse that can have a long-term, damaging effect on the children involved. Children deserve to have both parents in their life, and the fact that the relationship did not work out does not change this. If you are the victim of parental alienation, you must stay positive. Look for ways to make yourself available, even when you’re busy, and, remember, don’t add stress by lowering yourself to the other parent’s level.
Children 4 Tomorrow is a nonprofit organization that advocates for children in the worst types of parental conflicts.