After reading the list, don’t get discouraged when you notice that some of your own behaviors have been alienating your ex-spouse. This is normal in even the best of parents. Instead, let the list help sensitize you to how you are behaving and what you are saying to your children. Here are common mistakes:
To prevent the devastating effects of Parental Alienation, you must begin by recognizing the symptoms of PA. You will notice that many of the symptoms or behaviors focus on the parent. When the child exhibits hatred and vilifies the targeted parent, then the condition becomes parental alienation syndrome. After reading the list, don’t get discouraged when you notice that some of your own behaviors have been alienating. This is normal in even the best of parents. Instead, let the list help sensitize you to how you are behaving and what you are saying to your children.
1. Giving children choices when they really have no choice about visits. Allowing the child to decide for themselves to visit when the court order says there is no choice sets up the child for conflict. The child will usually blame the non-residential parent for not being able to decide to choose whether or not to visit. The parent is now victimized regardless of what happens; not being able to see his children or if they see them, the children are angry. Again, if you do these things intentionally, it make give you a chuckle now knowing you are hurting your ex, but you are truly hurting your child who eventually grows up, learns how things work and turns their back on YOU in turn. In literally 90% of these cases, the parent who causes the problem ends up with the short stick.
2. Telling the child what you want them to think is “everything” about the marital relationship or ‘all’ reasons for the divorce is also alienating behavior. The parent usually argues that they are “just wanting to be honest” with their children. This practice is destructive and painful for the child. The alienating parent’s motive is for the child to think less of the other parent. In reality, the child always looks up to a parent. If that parent lets them down in person, then that parent suffers. If you are doing these things, you are in person and it is a let down. You will suffer eventually for these actions.
3. Refusing to acknowledge that children have property and may want to transport their possessions between residences. Doesn’t matter who bought who what. Once it is given to someone, it is theirs.
4. Resisting or refusing to cooperate by not allowing the other parent access to school or medical records and schedules of extracurricular activities. Telling professionals not to let the other parent have access is going to work against you. These professionals know what you are doing. They may humor you but they know the law. It is not yours to rewrite. So ‘behind’ your back, they will grant legally to the other parent whatever it is they need. Also note, if the opposing parent were so evil you felt they do not deserve access, why are they allowed to walk the street? It will backfire in a big way in time.
5. A parent blaming the other parent for financial problems, breaking up the family, changes in lifestyle, or having a girlfriend/boyfriend, etc. Just like when you hear someone else tell the same tale, the child may not know it yet, but in time, just like when you heard it, they will know you are an excuse maker.
6. Refusing to be flexible with the visitation schedule in order to respond to the child’s needs or other parent’s work schedule. The alienating parent may also schedule the children is so many activities that the other parent is never given the time to visits. Of course we all know you do this so when the targeted parent protests you can described them as not caring and selfish. However, the child will eventually wise up that the complaining parent only wants to see them and you were the one conflicting the schedule.
7. Assuming that if a parent had been physically abusive with the other parent, it follows that the parent will eventually assault the child. This assumption is not always true. Sometimes you cause the other parent to dislike you and become abusive. Pretending this is not true does not change the facts.
8. Asking the child to choose one parent over another parent causes the child considerable distress. If you try to sneak in “Well, which of us would you rather be with?” you are looking for trouble. Typically, they do not want to reject either parent, but instead want to avoid the issue. The child, not the parent, should initiate any suggestion for change of residence.
9. Children will always at one time or another become angry with a parent. This is normal, particularly if the parent disciplines or has to say “no”. If for any reason the anger is not allowed to heal, you can suspect parental alienation. Trust your own experience as a parent. Children will forgive and want to be forgiven if given a chance. Be very suspicious when the child calmly says they cannot remember any happy times with you or say anything they like about you. That means someone at home is brainwashing them.
10. Be suspicious when a parent or step-parent raises the question about changing the child’s name.A mother can change her name back to maiden but in the majority of cases where the child is denied the father’s last name, the amount of further alienation is immeasurable. There is no other means that compares to show what is to come if a mother changes or denies the father’s name. It will not get better.
11. When children cannot give reasons for being angry towards a parent or their reasons are very vague without any details. This is because the alienated parent has done nothing to them. The child becomes confused but eventually realizes, it was all brain washing.
12. A parent having secrets, special signals, a private rendezvous, or words with special meanings are very destructive to the well being of the child.