#parentalalienationday #familylaw #childlaw #cafcass

Cafcass defines parental alienation as:

“when a child’s resistance or hostility towards one parent is not justified and is the result of psychological manipulation by the other parent.”

Today is Parental Alienation Day and that highlights the fact that the court takes such matters seriously and note that exposure to such behaviour can be harmful to children. They consider ways to overcome this to ensure that children are able to maintain relationships with both parents where this is safe and in the child’s best interests.

When Holly and Jane meet with clients to discuss issues regarding children matters they always advise it is important to avoid the following:

– Bad Mouthing – One of the most hurtful things a divorcing parent can do to a child is to criticize the child’s other parent in the child’s presence.

– Forcing a Child to Choose – It is harmful to pressure a child to “take sides” in a dispute between the divorced parents.

– Spying – A parent who asks a child questions about the other parent’s personal life is asking that child to become involved in the parents’ conflicts. Children in this situation may end up feeling they have betrayed a parent they love.

– Making the Child the Messenger – Parents make their children do a parent’s job when they ask their children to carry messages to the other parent.

– Child Abuse Allegations – It is becoming common for conflicting parents to express their hostilities by making unfounded allegations of child abuse. For children the consequences of these allegations are negative and far-reaching. Children are drawn into evaluations, investigations, and court testimony which greatly increase the risk of prolonged confusion, hurt, and anger.

– Custody Fights – Some parents pursue residence when they know perfectly well that the real reason for the action is to be vindictive. Children experience residence battles between their parents as extremely stressful.

– Child Support – Parents too often use child support by withholding it, demanding more, or making payments late when the real motivation is to perpetuate a dispute with the former spouse.

– Sabotaging the Child’s Routine – When parents fail to give a child medication, fail to follow through on discipline imposed by the other parent, or bend rules on bed-time, diet, or curfews out of anger for the other parent, they are involving the child in parental conflicts.

– Compensating for the Other Parent’s Failures – One divorced parent may view the other parent as a poor parent for being “too lenient”, “too strict”, “too involved”, or “not involved enough”. Such parents often try to compensate for the other parent’s “failures’ by being the opposite kind of parent. Children in such situations suffer by not having parents who are using a balanced approach to rearing children.

– Making Parenthood a Popularity Contest – A parent may try to win the affection of a child out of fear that the child favours the other parent. Such parents go overboard to “be nice” or refrain from being firm with their children. Children suffer in these situations by not having the advantage of a parent who is acting in the proper role of authority figure.

– Being an Accomplice to Whining – A parent may allow a child to complain about the other parents without helping the child see a more balanced view of the other parent. If the parent either passively accepts the complaint or fails to urge the children to take up these grievances with the other parent they subtly encourage children to use indirect communication as a way of managing conflict.

Contact Jane Lodeto or Holly Johnson to discuss Children matters in a free 30-Minute consultation.