After a divorce, some parents will talk badly of the other. Sometimes, when this happens, it can result in parental alienation. Parental alienation affects millions of children every year. Parental alienation occurs when one parent wants to isolate their former partner from the children.
The question that surrounds parental alienation is whether it is child abuse. Moderate to severe cases may fit the description of abuse. According to Psychology Today, for abuse to occur, there must be a human injury resulting from human action.
The behavior of alienators
Alienators use long-term tactics to alter the relationship between children and their other parent. The alienator may badmouth the other parent and rely on comfort from the children. An Alienator’s actions may range from subtle coercion to more severe techniques.
Alienators may plan with the intent to harm or they may act hostile and impulsively. In severe cases, the alienator will try to keep the children from interacting with their other parent at all.
The effect on children
Child victims of parental alienation have their relationship with the other parent severely reduced. According to WebMD, children may exhibit the following symptoms:
- Children will criticize the alienated parent unjustly
- Children will feel no guilt for alienating behaviors
- Children will support alienator no matter what
Children tend to have a black and white way of thinking regarding the alienated parent versus the alienator.
To treat severe parental alienation, children may require removal from the custody of an alienating parent. Work with a counselor can help correct a parent’s relationship with his or her child.