As a parent who recently went through divorce, you likely have a full plate even in the aftermath. Unfortunately, your co-parent knows this, too. This is the time when most parents choose to strike and make attempts at alienating you from your kids.
But how can you tell if this is happening in your family? What are the signs of parental alienation?
What is parental alienation?
The Psychiatric Times examines parental alienation in children. Though there are some differences from case to case, shared traits exist across a majority of them. Parental alienation itself is the act and resulting fallout of one parent trying to ruin their child’s relationship with the other. They may resort to potentially abusive tactics to do so, such as gaslighting and manipulating.
Subtle signs to start
You will often begin seeing potential signs of alienation in your child first. The signs are often subtle to start, so you need a careful eye to notice. For example, a child might start to have more criticisms for things they did not previously take issue with. This can include anything from how you clean your home to the food you cook. The critique might seem mild or even hard to notice at first, but will often increase in frequency and severity over time.
They may also display behavioral changes. They might seem more reticent or depressed. They may also lash out more often or seem easier to irritate than usual.
Of course, many children will also display a reluctance to spend time with you. But this often shows more in later stages of alienation, so damage has often already occurred by this point. Thus, you want to act as soon as you notice the smaller signs.