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What is Parental Alienation Syndrome?

Child custody battles can be downright nasty, especially if one parent is trying to gain sole custody of the children and the other parent is trying to gain custody, as well. Parents may engage in a variety of tactics to alienate the child from the other parent and gain the title of “favorite parent.”

Some parents go as far as to engage in parental alienation syndrome. While many parents talk badly about the other parent, parental alienation goes much further. It involves a variety of tactics to manipulate the child to see the other parent in a negative light. The parent may go to great lengths to keep the child away from the other parent and basically “hoard” the child.

The parent who does the alienating is likely to be narcissistic and emotionally unstable but also wealthy enough to engage in legal battles if needed. While the mother is most likely to be the alienating parent, there are situations in which the father is also the culprit.

Children are supposed to love both parents. One parent should not be rejected by the child. When one parent steps in and makes nasty comments about the other parent and gets the child to think negatively about the other parent, this can cause serious damage. This type of emotional abuse can affect a child for the rest of their life.

Signs of Parental Alienation

If you believe parental alienation is present in your child custody battle, look for these common signs:

  • Humans learn by imitating others. Children are easy to manipulate, and if they see their mother talking negatively about their father, they are likely to engage in the same behavior. They will rely on the parent with primary custody to guide their behavior, and they will listen to him or her, whether the parent is right or wrong.
  • Co-dependence. The alienating parent is emotionally fragile with a need to control. The child will pick up on this and become highly responsive to the parent’s needs and wishes. They will even consider their parent’s needs as more important than their own needs. They will also adopt the parent’s same attitudes, which often includes abusive behavior toward the other parent.
  • The child will feel responsible for the emotions between the parents and feel responsible for the divorce. At the same time, they will stay loyal to the manipulative parent.
  • Moral dynamic. To the child, the manipulative party will be the one who can do no wrong, while the other parent will always be considered the one in the wrong.

Contact a Child Custody Lawyer Today

Instead of acting amicably toward each other, some parents engage in tactics such as parental alienation to pit a child against the other parent. This type of behavior can damage their relationship with the parent and affect them negatively when they become parents themselves.

If you have noticed this behavior in the other parent, it is best to speak up to end this type of behavior sooner rather than later. Discuss your situation with Brooklyn child custody lawyer Theodore Alatsas ESQ. He can advise you of your options. To schedule a consultation, call our office at (718) 233-2903.