Parental Alienation

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Parental alienation is a form of emotional abuse. It is a phenomenon that occurs specifically in the context of separated families where there is high conflict between the parents, the child is often caught in the middle of this conflict.

The motivational factors include the following:

1.       Revenge

2.       Fear of losing the chid

3.       Jealousy

4.       Maintaining the relationship through conflict

5.       Power, control, domination

There are different types of parental alienation from mild, moderate to severe.

There are a number of ways in which a parent can alienate the child, including blocking access to the child, false allegations of abuse, deterioration of the relationship between the child and the target parent (one parent providing information to subtly convey that the other parent is inferior, dangerous, unloving etc) and fear reaction (alienating parent to respond to protests by the child by rejecting them).

If parental alienation occurs, this can have a real impact upon the child in terms of their ability to form future relationships. A child’s mind can be very easily influenced. The impact of the behaviour may not be immediate, there needs to be intervention at an early stage to ensure that the child is protected from future harm. Without any intervention the child could be at risk of: personality difficulties, mental health problems and self-esteem difficulties.

If you are going through a separation and you have children, it is important to obtain legal advice from a family solicitor to ensure if there is conflict, that contact arrangements can be resolved to avoid any unnecessary damage to your child due to the relationship breakdown. If you require legal advice then contact a member of our dedicated family team who can help.

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