When parents divorce, they sometimes compete for the love and affection of their kids. If you are facing a custody dispute, you may already worry about the long-term damage to your parent-child relationship. Parental alienation, though, is never acceptable.
Parental alienation occurs when one parent tries to turn a child against the other parent. Some child psychologists consider this type of manipulation to be abusive. Consequently, you must act quickly to stop parental alienation in its tracks.
Signs of parental alienation
Because parental alienation may come in many forms, there is no such thing as garden-variety parental alienation. Still, if your spouse is doing any of the following in the lead-up to your divorce, you may have a problem:
- Discussing details of your marriage or divorce with your child
- Making disparaging comments about you to your child
- Telling your child to fear, distrust, despise or disobey you
- Asking your child to spy on you
- Preventing you from attending normal parent-child functions
The effect of parental alienation on your custody case
In Tennessee, judges have a legal obligation to consider the best interests of the child when settling custody disputes. While many factors determine what is best for your son or daughter, parental alienation clearly is not good for the young one in your family. Accordingly, a judge may consider allegations of parental alienation when determining legal custody and physical placement.
Because young minds are easy to mold, parental alienation may cause damage faster than you think. Ultimately, you may need to take full advantage of the legal system to protect your parent-child relationship.