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Parental alienation doubles the pain of divorce

On Behalf of | Nov 18, 2021 | Family Law

As you may have discovered, there are two equally correct ways to view a divorce. It is the dissolution of a relationship, the final acknowledgment that marriage simply did not work as hoped. Divorce is also a new beginning, an opportunity for two individuals to set new, hopeful courses for themselves with unlimited possibilities.

Unfortunately, sometimes circumstances crop up that inhibit the reality of that longed-for new beginning. One common obstacle is parental alienation: when a child or the children of the divorcing couple become estranged or even hostile toward one parent.

What can you expect from an alienated child?

It is probably not too difficult to guess how alienation develops between a child and a divorced parent, especially when the divorce was acrimonious and the child bonded with one parent. Here are some behaviors and attitudes you may experience:

  • Irrational favoritism toward one parent
  • Absurd demands
  • Refusal to abide by court decrees
  • Absent or stifled communication
  • Unrepentant harsh or cruel comments about the alienated parent

How can you deal with alienated children?

Minnesota law has specific ways of dealing with parental alienation provoked by the other parent, including modifying custody judgments. However, it is often the child who is pushing one parent away. How can you deal with this?

First, do not compete for your child’s affection. Actively pursuing a child results in the child pulling away to engender more pursuit. Second, decide what you want your relationship to be, make a plan to achieve your goals and stay with it.

Also, prioritize your own self-interest. You lost a marriage and perhaps a child. You certainly do not want to lose yourself.