When Co-parenting After Divorce Becomes Parental Alienation – Navigating how to raise children together after a divorce can be a difficult task under the best of circumstances, but what happens in the unfortunate situation that things begin to go awry? At Horizon Plymouth we work with individuals going through the struggles of coparenting each and every day. When two people no longer see eye to eye, many things can begin to deteriorate in the relationship, especially when children are involved. Unfortunately, one of the common issues that people are often unaware of is parental alienation.

What is parental alienation?

Parental alienation is a form of emotional abuse in which one parent acts to unfairly subvert the child or children against the other parent. This is usually accomplished through a multitude of ways simultaneously, including lies, false accusations, control, and cutting off communications. It is important to note that keeping children from the other parent due to legitimate abuse or safety concerns is not parental alienation. A key component of parental alienation is that the alienated parent is ostracised for no reason and the explanations given for why the children have turned against them are unfounded. The children who are involved in these cases are often left with pervasive negative effects that linger well into adulthood and, if left unaddressed, may affect their ability to form meaningful relationships for the rest of their lives.

Signs of coparenting becoming parental alienation

As divorce and the resulting coparenting situations are often divisive and full of conflicts, it can sometimes be hard to differentiate when co-parenting develops into parental alienation. Because parental alienation can develop slowly over time, sometimes it can take a while before individuals even notice that it is happening. However, since parental alienation is a form of emotional and psychological abuse that can leave lasting effects on both the alienated parent and the children involved, it is important to put a stop to it as soon as possible. The best way to prevent parental alienation is to be aware of the potential warning signs, as early detection and intervention may prevent later negative effects. Some signs that typical co-parenting might be taking a turn for the worse include:

  • Children become angry at the victim parent for no discernible reason
  • Children are withheld from the victim parent and communication with them starts to become unusually restricted
  • The alienating adult makes claims of abuse or unfair mistreatment by the victimised parent to the children or to others around them
  • Children behave as though they feel guilty for spending time with the alienated parent

Although only a small percentage of co-parenting situations develop into parental alienation, it is still important to watch out for warning signs so that potential abuse and negative effects can be prevented. If parental alienation is suspected, one of the ways that can promote healing is by reaching out to an experienced counsellor in your area.

How can counselling help?

Parental alienation is a complicated issue and working with a counsellor can help victims to process their emotions, unwrap their experiences, and move forward in a healthy manner. The qualified counsellors at Horizon Plymouth can work with all parties involved—from parents to children. However, if you are currently co-parenting, you can help to prevent parental alienation and foster a healthy co-parent relationship by working with a counsellor before such a harmful and abusive situation ever develops. If you or someone you know is currently a victim of parental alienation, or you would like to take steps to potentially prevent such a situation from happening, reach out to the qualified counsellors at Horizon Plymouth and schedule your initial consultation today!

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