Copyright Moore Barlow LLP (Moore Blatch and Barlow Robbins merged May 2020)

Identifying Parental Alienation

Recently, lawyers, judges and social workers have become increasingly aware of parental alienation. It is however just as crucial for parents to also recognise when this is happening and why this might happen.

Parental alienation can manifest itself in many different ways but ultimately it is where a parent has been pushed out of their children’s lives for no justifiable reason. This can occur where a child considers one of their parents to be a stranger or even worse, an enemy. It can occur where a child suddenly no longer wants to see one parent or goes so far as to say they loathe the idea of seeing one of their parents. It’s a painful situation that can not only cause a rift between the parents but also between siblings who may feel an allegiance to different parents. This can potentially tear a family apart.

Sadly, parental alienation is often the result of one parent’s want for this to happen and willingness to let it happen. It can come about as a result of false accusations against one parent which warp the children’s views of the accused parent. This is made further worse when the accuser relentlessly pursues these allegations. The false accusations can cause the attention of the social workers and police involved to inadvertently shift towards these allegations and away from maintaining or at least re-establishing a relationship between the accused parent and their estranged child. A parent might also be excluded from their children’s lives as a result of the other parent’s derogatory and negative comments about them in front of the children. These kinds of comments and behaviour can influence a child’s feelings and lead to the child’s confusion at one parent’s expense.

The ways in which parental alienation can come about are endless but it is clear this problem is harmful to any child unless dealt with as promptly as possible. It is important cases of parental alienation are therefore identified quickly so that damage to the relationship between a child and their parent can be limited before it becomes irreparable. Once the issue has been properly identified steps can also be taken to piece the family back together with the aid of family therapy and court orders. The main point parents and lawyers alike should therefore bear in mind is to stay alert to this issue so it can be addressed head on.

Please contact Sahil Aggarwal or another member of the Moore Blatch family team for further information.


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