As a parent, you want what is best for your child. Unfortunately, bitterness and resentment from a co-parent can blind them to this goal you share. Your co-parent may have such strong negative emotions toward you that they work to tear you down regardless of how it may hurt your child.
This is what happens in cases of parental alienation. But exactly what is this, and how can you tell if your child is a victim?
Manipulation from alienating parents
The Psychiatric Times examine parental alienation and how it impacts children of divorce. Parental alienation occurs when one parent tries to break ties between their co-parent and child. The alienating parent will go to great lengths to do this. They often use manipulative and abusive tactics like gaslighting. Many courts consider parental alienation a form of psychological abuse because of this.
Signs of abuse
If your child is a victim, they may display several obvious signs. First, they will have a sudden and strong reluctance to spend time with you. Depending on the severity of the manipulation, this tension may or may not clear after they get away from the alienating co-parent.
Next, they will not have a good answer for why they want to avoid you. Many children will give nonsensical reasons. They may claim that they do not like the way you prepare meals or clean the house.
They may also parrot back information that is obviously false, or above their level of understanding. If you notice your child doing any of these things, chances are high that your co-parent is attempting to alienate you.