When going through a divorce, it is easy to get lost in your own emotions. But you should still pay attention to your surroundings, and especially to your child. Unfortunately, opportunistic and angry parents may take the chance to try turning your child against you.
This is parental alienation and it is a real risk for divorcing couples across the board. In order to combat it, you need to start by recognizing the potential red flags.
Small warning signs
The Psychiatric Times takes a look at parental alienation. As mentioned above, this phenomenon occurs when a parent tries to drive a wedge between their child and co-parent. This can happen for reasons ranging from petty spite to a parent legitimately thinking their co-parent is a potential threat. In most cases though, the intention of the alienating parent is not good or selfless.
The best thing you can do is keep an eye out for red flags before things get too far. Some of them include:
- Behavioral changes
- An upswing in criticism
- Reluctance to spend time with you
- Repetition of untrue or exaggerated information
- Access to information they should not have
In particular, pay attention to the first two as they will often manifest before any more obvious signs. If your child seems withdrawn or particularly combative, especially toward you, it might point to deeper issues. This is especially true when coupled with increased criticism of things they had no previous issue with.
If you notice these signs, you can take fast action. By discussing your options, you can move toward putting an end to these issues.