Divorces are painful, and a bitter ex-spouse may find new ways to cause you trouble. Unfortunately, children often are in the crossfire of a divorce, and it isn’t uncommon for parents to badmouth each other in front of them. If your ex-spouse is trying to turn your children against you, you may still be able to save your relationship with your kids.
When one parent tries to alienate their children from the other, it is called parental alienation. This can occur by physically separating the child from the other parent, but it also can occur emotionally. Speaking poorly of the other parent or lying to the child about their parent can cause the child to doubt the relationship they have with the alienated parent. This can have a significant toll on the child and can cause significant psychological harm that can last a lifetime.
How Can I Fight Parental Alienation?
Fighting this alienation can be a challenge, but it can be done. Here are some steps you can take to save your relationship with your child.
Remain Cordial With Your Ex
As difficult as it can sound, you can defend your position much better if you stop giving your ex-spouse ammunition. When communicating with your ex, communicate only the necessary information, and do so in writing so there is a record. Use wage garnishment to avoid money games. Learn the tactics and manipulation methods your ex-spouse uses to avoid getting dragged in. Respect the custodial schedule, and don’t tell your ex-spouse how to parent. Avoid allowing fights to escalate.
Talk to Your Kids
Children are smart, but they will believe what is said about you if you don’t give them anything to compare the lies against. When you have visitation or custody, talk with them. Ask them questions about their lives, and find ways to show them that you genuinely care about them. Remind them that you still love them and that hasn’t changed with the divorce. Get involved in their lives where you can, as long as it doesn’t step on your ex’s toes. You may even negotiate with the other parent to trade off appointments, parent-teacher meetings and other opportunities to be involved.
Don’t Return The Favor
It can be difficult to speak well of someone who is attacking you, but do not fire back at your ex. Your children are listening to you, and tearing down the other parent in front of them will only result in confused, hurt kids. Instead, focus on proving that your ex’s lies are only lies, and try to point out the good things about the other parent to your kids. Your kids may not realize it yet, but your caring influence will help them realize that you still are there for them.
Speak With An Attorney
If your ex’s alienation tactics cross the line, you may be able to take legal action. They must obey any child support and child custody or visitation orders, but if they are not honoring your parental rights, you should speak with an experienced child custody lawyer. They can help you petition the court for help enforcing the relevant orders. At the Gossman Law Firm, LLC, we are committed to helping parents protect their parental rights. Our Birmingham family law attorneys offer personalized, effective legal solutions and compassionate support for every client. Let us help you regain control of your relationship with your children.