Divorce or separation is never easy, especially for the children. In the event of a divorce or separation, the children involved deserve to maintain a strong and healthy relationship with each parent. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for some parents to attempt to influence the child’s perception of the other parent.
Parental alienation happens when one, or both parents, actively attempts to “program” the child to denigrate or undermine the other parent. The ultimate goal is to separate the child from the other parent.
Parental alienation can impact the child in a number of ways. Here are some of them:
Parental alienation and emotional development
Several studies have found the link between parental alienation and the child’s mental and emotional development. For instance, children who alienate their parents have been found to develop low self-esteem when they become adults. By rejecting their identity, these children tend to have a problem finding a sense of belonging, which further impacts their self-esteem while fostering self-hatred. And when the affected child finally realizes the alienating parent’s game plan, they are likely to develop a strong resentment and hatred for the parent in question.
Parental alienation and romantic relations
Children who alienate their parents are likely to have serious trust issues when they become adults. The result, they are less likely to establish and maintain stable romantic relationships. The same applies to self-esteem. A child who is made to believe their dad or mom walked out of their life may have a difficult time believing anyone will want to be with them in the future. And even if these individuals marry, they are more likely to divorce and alienate their children than individuals who were never victims of parental alienation.
The long-term effects of parental alienation on children can be devastating. Find out your legal options should you discover that your ex is engaging in behaviors that amount to parental alienation.