Parental alienation is when one parent has influenced the child to dislike the other parent, to fight with them and sometimes even hate the other parent. Often the child is taking on a lot of the anger that one parent feels towards the other parent. Usually this occurs when a child is frequently told many negative things about one parent by the other parent and is privy to one parent’s discussions and feelings about the other parent and the divorce.
This can be very damaging to the child and potentially destroy the relationship between the child and the other “hated” parent.
What if I suspect the other parent is engaging in parental alienation with our child?
The “hated” parent can bring the issue to the attention of the court or bring in a child psychologist to assess and evaluate the situation and possibly confirm that there is alienation going on. This process takes time to prove and damage will be done in the meantime.
Once damage is done to the relationship between the child and the “hated” parent, therapy may be one route to re-establish a healthy and positive relationship between parent and child. The longer the alienation takes place, the harder it will be to repair the situation between parent and child.
In extreme situations, the court will sometimes take a child away for the parent who is causing the alienation. However, that may then cause a new set of problems for the child who has to begin to live with a parent for whom they may have negative feelings.
Can you get a restraining order to get a parent to stop saying negative things about the other parent?
A restraining order may be possible but the damage will still have been done and enforcement of such an order is quite difficult with an uncooperative parent.