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Understanding parental alienation

The journal Children and Youth Services Review recently reported that 13 percent of parents have been victims of parental alienation. Over 22 million more are considered at risk for the same. The study showed that parental alienation numbers are very disturbing, but there is a sign that is changing.

Parental alienation is defined as a "consistent set of behaviors that seek to drive a wedge" in parent-and-child relationships. In some cases, it is also considered to be a type of child abuse. There are many judges in family court, though, haven't had specialized training on parental alienation.

Many who try to get their child to avoid wanting to stay with the other parent may not even realize what they are doing meets the definition of parental alienation. It can be difficult to determine when a parent's inappropriate behavior becomes parental alienation. Both can have significant negative effects to the parent-child relationship.

There can be challenges to bringing up accusations of parental alienation in a custody case. Doing so could increase the level of alienation from one of the parents.

Divorce is hard for children anyway. Parents who attempt to alienate their children from the other parent really harms the child. A parent who believes that the other parent is alienating their child against him or her should inform his or her attorney. An experienced attorney will be able to develop a strategy to let the court know what is happening, which could help his or her client's child custody case. Keeping a journal of instances when you believe parental alienation occurred can also be helpful.

Source:, "Parental Alienation: Why Family Courts, Father’s Rights And Child Custody Can Be A Broken System," KJ Williams, accessed Oct. 21, 2016

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