Varying Degrees of Parental Alienation

When a parent makes suggestions or attempts to brainwash a child into believing that his or her other parent is a bad parent, and that the child’s life would be better if all ties with that parent were severed, it is considered an act of parental alienation, and it is detrimental to the relationship between the child and the parent that is the target of the parental alienation. Parental alienation is prompted by one parent against the other through manipulation of their mutually shared child. The parent who instigates the alienation generally falls into one of three types of alienators. These types include:

Unintentional Alienators

Unintentional alienators are ignorant of the fact that their actions are alienating the other parent. They don’t realize that they are even doing anything that could impact how the child views the other parent. Nearly all divorced parents are guilty of this level of parental alienation. It could be an off-handed comment, or simply voicing concern over the safety of the child when he or she is in the custody of the other parent. While the parent means well, he or she might inadvertently alienate the other parent, because they are mad about a recent divorce, the child custody arrangement is not as they had envisioned it, or because they blame the other parent for their problems. These types of alienators generally get better about their behavior over time.

Active Alienators

Active alienators may know that they shouldn’t disparage the other parent in front of the child. However, due to an intense hurt or anger that they feel against the other parent, they are unable to control themselves. Their inability to control and manage their anger, frustration or bitterness bleeds over into the things that they say to or in front of the child. They will lash out when they lose control and actively alienate the other parent. After they calm down and regain control, they might feel poorly for what they have said, but it is too late and the damage cannot be undone.

Obsessive Alienators

An obsessive alienator is the worst; they deliberately seek out to destroy the child’s relationship with the other parent with an all-consuming passion. They set out on a campaign to drive a devastating wedge between the target parent and the child. They are usually driven by their own hatred of the target parent, and are unable to cope with their feelings because they must continue to interact with the target parent due to the child they share.

Alienators Aren’t Always A Parent

While parental alienation is most commonly done between parents, sometimes the source of the alienation is someone else. An alienator could be another family member, such as a brother or sister, who makes alienating comments about the target parent. Stepparents or other relatives, such as grandparents, or aunts and uncles with a negative opinion about the target parent could make alienating comments in front of the child. Similarly, family friends, babysitters or even therapists, might be the source of the parental alienation.

Contacting a Charleston Child Custody Lawyer

If you are concerned that you are the victim of parental alienation, you should contact an experienced child custody attorney to discuss your options. Contact the Charleston child custody lawyers at Sarji Law Firm, LLC today. Please get in touch with us by calling 843-323-4341.