After a divorce, the best case scenario is your children adjusting to the split household without many mental health issues. Unfortunately, some parents make the adjustment period worse by alienating the children.
According to Psychology Today, parental alienation refers to one parent manipulating or offering false information to children to turn them against their other parent. Child victims of parental alienation refuse to have relationships with their other parents.
What does parental alienation look like?
Parental alienation may look like your ex trying to restrict your kids’ time with you. He or she might find ways to spend more time with the kids. Additionally, your ex will talk negatively about you. You may notice your kids judging you harshly or wanting to spend all their time with the other parent. Sometimes, the alienator will withhold affection or support of their children if they have positive feelings towards the alienated parent.
How can you help children cope with parental alienation?
As an alienated parent, you may find repairing your relationship with your children difficult. After all, your kids may still have anger and anxiety because of your ex’s lies. Do not take your frustration out on the kids. Be patient and understanding and your kids will more likely grow to trust you again. As kids spend more time with you, they will know how you feel. Sometimes kids experience a lot of guilt and self-hatred because of the alienator.
While you have reasonable anger towards the alienating spouse, do not voice your anger with your children present. Anger towards your ex-spouse will make it more difficult for your kids.