Child alienation is a situation where the child of a divorced couple becomes estranged from one parent (typically the non-custodial parent).
A parent may be alienating his/her child against the other parent or against himself/herself, without even realizing it.
Here are 5 tips to prevent this from happening:
- Make positive remarks about your ex-spouse. This will reassure your child that both of his parents remain respectful of each other.
- If you have accidentally made negative comments about your ex-spouse, follow up with a repairing comment. Acknowledge that you just spoke negatively about your ex-spouse, apologize for it, and follow up with a positive remark about your ex-spouse. It is also helpful to reiterate that you really value your child’s relationship with your ex-spouse.
- Do not reinforce your child’s negative comments about your ex-spouse. If your child makes baseless negative comments about your ex-spouse, you should not encourage them to continue doing so. However, if your child’s negative comments indicate that there might be abuse done to him/her by your ex-spouse, you should have it investigated by professionals.
- Do not prevent your child from spending time with your ex-spouse. Allow them time to interact and build a balanced relationship. You should also avoid telling your child that you miss them whenever he/she is spending time with your ex-spouse.
- Avoid comparing yourself with your ex-spouse. Oftentimes, both parents have different skills and qualities that are equally important to the child’s development. Comparing your skills/ qualities to those of your ex-spouse would only confuse your child, and may even cause him/her to see your ex-spouse in a more negative light.
If you feel that you are being alienated or that you have inadvertently caused your child to be alienated from your ex-spouse, you should consider seeking professional help. Ms Gloria James is a trained Parenting Coordinator Lawyer (Family Justice Courts), with extensive professional experience in managing high conflict divorce matters involving children.
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