Parental alienation and divorce

| Dec 19, 2017 | Family Law |

Parents in Pennsylvania who are divorced from a spouse who has been diagnosed with a borderline or narcissistic personality disorder might want to be particularly vigilant for signs of parental alienation. This involves one parent manipulating a child so that they turn against the other parent.

It often begins subtly. For example, the parent who is creating the alienation might try to shift plans for a visitation by saying that the child is sick. That parent may also begin putting down the ex in various ways. Later, the targeted parent might begin to notice behavioral changes in the child. The kid may become oppositional and request that the parent stop attending extracurricular activities. In extreme cases, the child could experience explosive rages and attack the targeted parent using language that is similar to that of the other parent. However, the child might deny that the other parent has been an influence in any way.

Although this can be upsetting, the targeted parent should avoid being provoked. The parent may want to consult a professional as well as set limits in a way that is firm but loving. Despite the seriousness of the situation, it’s generally better to avoid saying negative things about the other parent.

Tension between parents during divorce and child custody negotiations is not unusual. However, parents should try to focus on the best interests of the child as a judge would in making child custody decisions. If negotiations break down or are not possible in the first place, the parents may have to turn to litigation. An attorney could provide valuable legal guidance in such situations.

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