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When it comes to divorce, most courts prefer to award joint custody to parents. In this case, former spouses must form a united front when it comes to co-parenting to ensure the best interests of the child.

In some instances, parental alienation can disrupt relationships and cause conflict between parent and child. This guide provides insight into parental alienation to ensure you can identify and address the issue immediately.

Understanding parental alienation

Parental alienation occurs when one parent unduly influences their child to take a negative view of the other parent. Unlike other forms of conflict, the child’s negative feelings about the alienated parent typically do not have a basis in reality.

Parental alienation can range from mild to severe depending on the situation. In mild cases, the child may express reluctance to spend time with the alienated parent, but the relationship will remain mostly intact. In severe situations, the child might outright refuse to maintain a relationship with the other parent, which can lead to serious conflict within families.

How to identify issues in your family

Parental alienation causes a child to take a significantly negative view of the alienated parent. In this respect, every action the parent takes will result in criticism from the child, without regard for whether the parent is right or wrong. Conversely, the child will consistently praise the actions of the alienating parent.

Children who are victims of parental alienation will also fail to express guilt for their behaviors. They will not apologize or express remorse for their actions, which is quite unlike most children when dealing with their parents.

Keep in mind that parental alienation negatively affects children as much as it does parents. As a result, you may require counseling, parenting classes, or court intervention to address the issue.