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What is parental alienation?

If you are going through a divorce in North Carolina, you should be aware of the signs of parental alienation. This phenomenon is the intentional separation of the children from one parent for the purpose of punishing him or her. Parents who are attempting to alienate their children from the other often try to disrupt contact between that parent and the children as much as possible. They use manipulative tactics such as making derogatory comments about the other parent and even forbidding the children to talk about him or her. Some children who experience this indoctrination develop unwarranted hatred for the targeted parent, and they usually believe they have formed this negative opinion alone, rather than through an outside influence. 

According to Psychology Today, parental alienation is abusive toward children. It may lead to harmful effects, such as:

  • depression
  • low self esteem
  • bitterness
  • irrational fear and guilt
  • damaged future relationships

If you do not have primary custody of your children, you may be more susceptible to parental alienation, since the one who spends more time with the children may have greater opportunity to influence their opinions. However, knowing the warning signs of this behavior may help prepare you to battle its effects. It is important to continue that positive contact as much as possible by constantly reassuring your children of your love and support. If alienation has already taken place, it may be possible to restore a healthy relationship with your children, but it will take time and intentional effort to undo the damage.

This information is provided for educational purposes only, and should not be taken as legal advice.


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