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What can a parent do when they are the victim of parental alienation?

| Jan 17, 2015 | Abuse, Child Custody, Divorce, Family Law |

There is no perfect answer to this question. As long as one parent keeps fueling the alienation flames, the alienation will continue. Every case of parental alienation is different but the cause is the same. One parent uses the children as weapons to hurt the other parent. In essence, the parent is sacrificing the children’s well being to fulfill their own selfish desires. The following suggestions may make no difference or may solve the problem.

  1. Keep a diary. This should detail all of your attempts to maintain a relationship with the children and the children’s responses. Whenever possible, backup the diary with documents that corroborate the information you note. Emails, telephone bills, and receipts from stores and restaurants should be preserved. Use an email program that documents when the emails are read by the recipient.
  2. Take advantage of all contacts permitted by the court. Don’t miss any visits. Make telephone calls or Skype calls every day if allowed by the court. Use texting to communicate with the children but not excessively. Send gifts or cards for every occasion possible. Cards are created for many holidays such as New Years, Valentine’s Day, Independence Day, and many others. Make sure you have copies of the cards and enter the mailing of the cards and the gifts in your diary. Of course, make sure you send gifts for major holidays or events like birthdays or Christmas.
  3. Attend every event in your child’s life. Don’t miss a dance recital, a little league, a concert, or any other event in which your child is a participant. Contact the school and obtain information about events, parent teacher conferences, and make sure the school has your contact information. Do the same for the child’s pediatrician, dentist, and other doctors. Make sure you are on time for each event.
  4. Do everything that the court orders. If the court orders counseling, make sure you go to counseling. If the court orders drug tests, make sure you avoid using drugs and take every test ordered. Continue counseling and drug tests even if the children or the other parent stop attending.
  5. Take a parenting class. You may be the best parent in the world but the court will be impressed by your efforts to improve yourself.
  6. Never ever use physical force to discipline your children. The law may permit use of reasonable force but you are under a microscope and can’t afford the luxury of using physical force. The exception is that you may have to restrain (but not hit) a child to prevent harm to another child, yourself, or someone else.
  7. Avoid discussions with your child about the alienation, child support, or any issue you have with the other parent. Make sure the children can’t hear when you have discussions with other people about these matters.
  8. Be careful about use of social media. You should assume that everything you post on social media will be reported to the Court. Never say anything critical or negative about your children, the other parent, the attorneys, or the Court. Social media can be used to make positive statements about the children but do so sparingly. Don’t comment on every posting by your children. It will make you look like a stalker.
  9. Tell your children that you love them. Tell them this at the end of every phone call and every visit. Don’t overdo this. Once a day is fine. Four times a day makes you look crazy. Don’t ask the children to respond in kind. Pressuring the children for affection is certain to hurt you.
  10. Be persistent and consistent in your efforts to maintain your relationship with your children. Don’t give up hope no matter how frustrating it becomes.
  11. Retain a family law attorney and regularly discuss the parental alienation and your efforts to maintain the relationship. In many cases, only court action can stop the abuse to the children. An experienced family law attorney should be able to advise you about when to resort to the courts. Like everything else in regards to parental alienation, it may take a number of court actions before you start to see results.  In the most severe cases of parental alienation the court can  change custody.
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