One of the scariest fallouts of divorce is parental alienation for the child. In most cases, the custody of the child is passed on to the mother. In such cases, the child is very likely to be separated from the father. The child can develop a sense of alienation towards his father. The reverse is also true. Sometimes the feeling develops to such an extent that the child may refuse to meet the father or mother at all. This is the tragic fallout of a toxic divorce.
Why It Happens
Parental alienation is common to children of divorced partners. Divorce alters the family structure dramatically. Children don’t have any say or control over such changes. They love both their parents and want to stay with both of them. Although many parents understand this, there are some that don’t. These are the people who stoke parental alienation in their children.
In their zeal to win over the confidence of their children, some parents take stern measures. They take recourse to measures like keeping the child away from its father/mother or speaking badly about the former partner in the presence of their children. Such measures can strike a sense of hatred among children about their father or mother. If one partner continues to engage in such activities, the child may develop a deep sense of alienation towards his separated father or mother. Parents should not use their children to fulfil an urge for vengeance on their former partners.
The need of the hour is to protect children from parental alienation irrespective of the toxicity between the parents. However, protecting children from such abuse is easier said than done.
How to Protect Children from Parental Alienation?
Ways to help a child from parental alienation depends on the age of the child to a large extent. If the child has come out of its infancy and is able to learn and retain things, one needs to maintain the following:
Don’t ever speak badly of former partner, especially in front of the child.
Don’t ever try to go one up above the other partner, especially with gifts or punishments.
One needs to love the child unconditionally. Children love their parents unconditionally and parents need to reciprocate that in order to be in their reckoning.
If the person blames his/her children for something or the other, he or she may develop a sense of alienation.
Reminisce the fun times with the child. If possible, get together with a former partner and spend some happy moments.
One needs to be on time for routine visits with former partners. Children look forward to such visits. Dithering with such visits with children may develop a sense of parental alienation.
Parental alienation is one of the most difficult situations for children to deal with. They go through a mix of emotions, which is why both parents should understand the impact of divorce or separation on their children. It can even spoil the personality of the child. One should always comfort his/her child and avoid situations where a child needs to choose one of the parents.