Parental alienation syndrome: Are your kids victims?

Divorce is never easy and if you're one of many California parents whose children have been having difficulty adapting to a new lifestyle, you are definitely not alone in your struggle. It's understandable that your kids may go through various emotions as they come to terms with the idea that their parents are no longer married to each other. It's also understandable that you and your children will have good days and bad days as you move on in life after you settle your divorce.

However, it is not appropriate for your former spouse to try to alienate you from your children. There are certain recognizable patterns of behavior that one parent will often exhibit when trying to ruin the parent/child relationship of the other parent. In fact, experts have labeled the problem, "Parental Alienation Syndrome." If you believe your kids are victims, you can reach out for immediate support.

How to recognize the signs

Even if you and your ex don't get along so well, that's not necessarily a reason to suspect him or her of trying to destroy your relationship with your kids. The following signs, however, should alert you to a potential problem:

  • If your former spouse constantly makes negative comments about you or your parenting ability within earshot of your children, it may be intentional.
  • Your co-parent keeps sharing adult information with your kids regarding your divorce or problems you had during marriage.
  • Parents attempting to cause alienation between children and their other parents often use body gestures to convey unspoken messages, such as rolling eyes or shaking heads whenever the other parents speaks.
  • If your spouse refuses to be in your presence and tells your kids it's because you are always angry, argumentative, etc., it may be a ploy to turn your children against you.

Falsely accusing someone of abuse is a serious offense; sadly, it is often a means parents use to portray co-parents in a poor light, both to their own children and to court officials. Children are highly resilient and adaptable by nature. Your kids may become confused as to where their loyalties should lie or even doubt your sincerity or love for them if your ex is systematically trying to undermine your relationship with them.

The good news

While such situations can be quite frustrating and you may feel overwhelmed, you'll be glad to know there are support networks in place to help you resolve such problems. In addition to seeking legal support, you can tap into local resources for counseling to help your kids recover from parental alienation syndrome.

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