A Brief Guide To Parental Alienation
Parental alienation is a topic that has been in the press regularly over the last few years. Often people believe that their child expressing any reluctance to attend at contact with them must be as a result of parental alienation. However, this is not often the case. Parental alienation is rare and highly damaging to children.
A child expressing reluctance to attend at contact could be for one of many reasons. The child could be saying to each parent what they think they want to hear. The child could have observed the visiting parent at a time of vulnerability or illness and be frightened to be exposed to that again. The child could have observed fighting between the parents and be worried that this behaviour would be repeated if there was contact. With careful parenting and assistance from professionals such as teachers, counsellors and lawyers these issues can be resolved.
Parental alienation is defined 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.’ Namely when no other reason can be attributed to it.
Parental alienation is extremely harmful to a child. It can ultimately result in not only cutting them off from one of their parents but also cutting them off from one half of their identity. It can affect how they develop their own relationships in the future and even how they parent their own children.
The Courts are becoming increasingly tough in their approach to parental alienation. It is not an accusation to be brought lightly. If the Court is satisfied that there is parental alienation occurring, then they can consider changing which parent the child lives with and even blocking all contact with the parent causing the children harm for a period in order to strengthen the bond with the other parent. This is always the final option available and often the Court will try to get the parent alienating the children to stop. If they won’t then a change of residence is often the only outcome available.
If you have concerns about parental alienation, then feel free to get in touch for more information. At Watson Thomas Solicitors we offer a free initial consultation for all new clients, please contact us to discuss any queries you may have regarding protecting your assets upon divorce or separation and we would be more than happy to help.