Parental alienation is one of the worst things a child and the victim parent can go through after a separation or a divorce. Usually, it is the custodial parent, but it also happens with the domicile parent. The matter of child support and the kid themselves becomes a pawn in the bad blood between the mother and father, and one becomes the victim of alienation.
There is a parental alienation checklist to see if the child is being used as a pawn in the family relationship. It is a form of control and is toxic in teaching the child to despise the other parent or not trust them. If this happens in a broken family, there are signs to look for in the child that shows they are being used in an adult fight in which no one is the winner. If you can recognize them, we hope you’ll contact us for assistance.
Mild, Moderate, and Severe Parental Alienation
There are three kinds of parental alienation: mild, moderate, and severe, and each has its distinctions.
The mild version is almost undetectable because the alienation is subtle when the child is around both parents. The child may not wish to visit the other parent, but they have a good time with the alienator parent.
The moderate category has the child being resentful of the alienated parent and putting up a fuss or making excuses not to visit them.
The last category negatively affects the child and the alienated parent. This type puts the child in the most danger because they will go to the extreme of not visiting the alienated parent. It is a severe case.
The severe category is the easiest to spot because the child may run away from home or show signs of fear toward the alienated parent. They may also become disrespectful to both parents because they are hurt so much by the separation and the bad blood between their mom and dad.
Parental Alienation Behaviors
This is where the parental alienation checklist comes into play because these are the actual signs of what the alienator parents do to control how their child thinks of the alienated parent.
The alienating parent badmouths the other parent either in front of the child or talks directly to them with negative words about the other parent. It primarily deals with the other parent’s flaws and shortcomings and is usually exaggerated or false. It can be verbal or non-verbal.
Limiting Time Together
This happens when the alienating parent does not want the ex to discover what is being said or done behind their back. They will then limit contact with the other parent and cancel plans the victim parent may have had with the child. The child will notice they are spending less time with the custodial parent and begin to think they don’t want them anymore. This also happens when the child is forced to stop seeing the other parent.
Interference with Communications
When a domicile parent does not deliver a message from the custodial parent, they control the situation. It stops the targeted parent from being a part of their child’s life when communication is altered or interfered with in a despiteful manner.
Less Love for the Targeted Parent
A person can tell when love is avoided, especially a parent who faces being alienated. The child will pull away and not show the proper signs of affection they should feel for that parent.
Lies About the Targeted Parent
The alienator will tell a direct lie about the other parent, like they are dangerous, or they will hurt someone, or worse. Lies of this sort will push the child away, and when they find out they were lied to, they will also despise the alienating parent. They may also persuade the child that the other parent doesn’t love them or wants them anymore.
Making the Child Choose
Both parents should be respected and loved no matter what. It should never be one or the other when it comes to parents. Sometimes the child will have their favorite, and it is usually the one who is most lenient, but the love should never be altered to where the child has to decide which one they love or despise.
Making It a Child’s Battle
This is a tool used to push the other parent away by having the child take the side of the alienator. Confiding in the child will bring the child to pity the alienating parent. It should never be a child’s battle. It is an adult disagreement that is better left between the former couple.
Getting the Child to Spy or Keep Secrets
The tactic also harms the child by getting them to spy on the other parent and come back with information that can harm the alienated parent. It is none of the child’s business or the alienator’s how much money the other parent has, what they bought, or even what they are doing while they are on their time. Keeping secrets affects the child similarly because they are stuck in their parent’s battles. It is toxic parenting to get a child to do these things.
Purposely Withholding Information
This could fall under Interference with Communications, but it has a far worse effect. Information concerning the child, like academics, medical, and documentation, should be discussed by both parents. If it concerns the child’s welfare and well-being, withholding information can become life-threatening, especially for medical issues concerning the child.
Purposely Undermining the Alienated Parent’s Authority
If either parent goes against the wishes of the other’s authority, this leaves no room for discipline for the child. Each parent has the authority to be the parent. What they say needs agreement and understanding from both parents.
For example, if one parent says, “Lights out at 10 PM on a school night,” and the other parent lets the child stay up all night, that will undermine the other parent’s wishes.