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The Danger of Parental Alienation

By Nottage and Ward on September 30, 2020

Parental alienation is not uncommon after a divorce or separation. In fact, you may have seen it depicted in countless TV shows and movies. Sadly, this form of toxic parenting can destroy a relationship between child and parent, as well as leave the child in a damaged state of mind for potentially their entire life. If you are worried that your former spouse is trying to alienate you from your child, then you need to take action.

Alienation as Abuse

When you hear the term “abuse,” you may picture bruising, cuts, and other physical injuries. While physical abuse is certainly rampant in our society, it is not the only way to damage a child. Emotional abuse can leave children traumatized and lead to depression, insecurities, and toxic behavior when they grow up. A happy child comes from a happy home.

While it had not historically been considered abuse, recently parental alienation has come under scrutiny from the psychology community for the detrimental impact it can have on a child’s development. It has the potential to cause a child to develop an unhealthy relationship with the toxic parent, making them overly attached or protective of the toxic parent. It can also lead to a lowered self-esteem, depression, and even anxiety, as the child may assume the alienated parent does not love them or intends to harm them and the toxic parent.

Your Relationship With Your Child

Of course, one of the most obvious negative outcomes of parental alienation is the impact it can have on your relationship with your child. If your former spouse has convinced your child that you no longer want to see them, intend to harm them, or even that you don’t love them, it can lead to your relationship with the child to completely fall apart. If the behavior is not stopped, then your child could grow up and spend their entire life genuinely believing that you have no interest in them, when nothing could be further from the truth. There is nothing more frightening to a parent than losing their child, and with parental alienation, that could quickly become your reality.

Signs of Alienation

You, of course, want your child to grow up happy and healthy. The best way to ensure that that happens is to keep your eyes peeled for the signs of alienation, so that you can work to ensure it doesn’t go too far. We at Nottage and Ward, LLP have worked with many clients to get their children back in their lives. In our experience, some of the most common signs of parental alienation are:

  • The toxic parent humiliates or badmouths the alienated parent in front of the child
  • The toxic parent tries to convince the child that the alienated parent does not love them or is not interested in seeing them
  • The toxic parent does now allow the alienated parent to visit/see the child, and even breaks court orders to do so
  • The toxic parent completely cuts off communication between the child and the alienated parent
  • The toxic parent completely erases the alienated parent’s presence in the household, including taking away photos and gifts the alienated parent sent to the child
  • The toxic parent convinces the child that the alienated parent is dangerous
  • The toxic parent forces the child to choose between them and the alienated parent

If your former spouse has been exhibiting this behavior, then it is in the best interest of you and your child that you intervene. In order to show the courts what is happening, you should keep a written record of all instances where you were not allowed to see your child, especially if it violated court-ordered parenting time. You should also keep all correspondence between you and your former spouse, as letters and texts may show signs of toxic behavior. Be sure to also keep a record of your attempts to see your child, as that shows you have an interest in parenting, and that you are being blocked from doing so.

Finally, seek out assistance from a skilled Chicago child allocation attorney. Family law courts are supposed to put the interests of the child first, but that doesn’t mean your spouse will not do everything in their power to trick the court just as they have tricked your child. With an expert attorney by your side, you have a greater chance of fighting your former spouse’s claims and seeing your child again. For some of the best legal aid in Chicago, call Nottage and Ward, LLP at (312) 332-2915. We want to give you the helping hand you are in desperate need of.

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