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Signs of Parental Alienation


For children of divorce, one area of concern is often in regards to how both parents might choose to conduct themselves and how this might impact the children. One of the most common problems is known as parental alienation. This occurs when one parent attempts to turn their children against the other parent, resulting the children developing an unwarranted rejection of the targeted parent. Parental alienation can continue well into a child’s adulthood and might prevent children from being able to maintain a relationship with a parent entirely.

Parental alienation can manifest in a variety of ways in a child. Below are some of the most common forms of parental alienation syndrome:

  1. Alienated children tend to develop a hatred for the targeted parent to an extent where they are willing to deny any positive past experiences that they once remembered fondly. This will also drive them to reject any and all contact with the parent. You might think this requires a gradual process, but hate and fear can happen seemingly overnight with the right push from the other parent.
  2. If you were to question alienated children about their reasons for rejecting a parent, their explanations will not seem aligned with the magnitude of hostility. Their complaints will be disproportionately minor, involving criticisms of eating habits, appearance, or food preparation. It is also possible they might make blatantly unbelievable accusations to support their anger.
  3. Just as alienated children exhibit almost illogical hatred to the alienated parent, they will exhibit idealized support of the alienating parent that seems almost automatic. If asked to provide any negatives regarding the alienating parent, the children will likely draw a blank. This is distinctly different from most children who generally possess mixed feelings for parents, no matter how perfect they are.
  4. While alienated children have obviously been influenced by the alienating parent, they will never admit to this. Instead, they will adamantly proclaim the decision to reject a parent was theirs alone, which they made freely and without encouragement.
  5. Alienated children tend to appear rude and cold toward the alienated parent, devoid of any feelings of guilt regarding their behavior. Even when given gifts or support, gratitude for the alienated parent will be non-existent. Instead, alienated children will feel that it is owed to them.
  6. If there are conflicts or disagreements, the children will always side with the alienating parent, regardless of how ridiculous his or her position might be. Alienated children lack impartiality or willingness to understand a targeted parent’s point of view.
  7. Alienated children will often adopt phrases from the alienating parent to use against the targeted parent. This language will sound scripted and unnatural, particularly when used to make accusations that cannot be supported.
  8. Lastly, severely alienated children will spread their rejection and hatred to extended family members of the alienated parent. Once loved grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins will all be rejected and avoided, deemed guilty by association.

It is always in the best interests of children for both parents to work together for their benefit rather than to use their emotions as a battleground. You might not get along with each other, but you are still in this together as parents. Put them first.

Child Custody Attorneys in Massachusetts

At Percy Law Group, PC, we will make sure your voice is heard in all child custody matters. The goal of this process is to protect the best interests of children by assigning parent rights and responsibilities between parents and, in some cases, other parties. Our Massachusetts legal team will fight for your rights efficiently and effectively during this challenging time.

Contact our office today at (508) 718-2545 to schedule a consultation.

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