If you are currently navigating your way through a divorce, you may be working through custody matters and adjusting to spending some time without your child. Learning to live without your son or daughter at least part of the time can prove difficult, but it can be even more troublesome if the relationship between you and your former partner has become especially bitter.

Regrettably, sometimes, when couples divorce, one parent begins to make efforts to turn the child against the other parent. This happens frequently enough that there is a term for this type of behavior: parental alienation. While your former partner may behave in this manner in an attempt to turn your child against you and hurt you, often, it is the children involved who suffer the most.

How parental alienation occurs

Parental alienation can occur when one parent frequently speaks ill of the other in the presence of the child, or when one parent intentionally makes it difficult for the other parent and the child to spend time together. In some cases of parental alienation, one parent blames the other for the dissolution of the marriage, and this parent may hint to the child that infidelity or something similar on the part of the other parent was to blame.

How it affects children

Parental alienation, according to many experts, is a form of abuse, and it can negatively affect children in numerous ways. The act can actually have a negative impact on the child’s relationships with both parents, not just the parent the child is hearing negative things about.

Studies show that there is also a clear link between parental alienation and emotional and mental issues in children. Many victims of parental alienation develop low self-esteem, and they are also more likely to have trouble trusting people. Furthermore, parental alienation victims are more likely to hate themselves, because they often internalize one parent’s disdain for the other, and they are also more likely to abuse substances and develop substance addiction issues.

In summary, parental alienation has devastating effects, so if you suspect it is happening to your children, you may be wise to investigate further.