Navigating your way through a Texas divorce is never easy, but it can prove especially difficult if there are harsh feelings remaining between you and your former partner. In some situations, among them divorces that involve allegations of cheating, you or your former partner may make negative comments about your child’s other parent in front of your son or daughter. When this happens regularly, it may constitute “parental alienation,” which is essentially one parent’s efforts to change the child’s opinion about the other by bad mouthing or sharing negative information about him or her.
According to Psychology Today, parental alienation occurs in about 1 percent of all divorces. In less-severe instances of parental alienation, one parent may encourage the shared child to choose sides between parents, which might involve making decisions about whom to spend vacations with, for example. In severe cases, one parent might make efforts to establish a sharp divide between the child and the other parent while encouraging the child’s rejection of that parent.
How and why children suffer
Nowadays, most child welfare experts agree that parental alienation is a form of child abuse. Additionally, it can lead to a host of developmental and emotional problems among children. If your former partner is behaving in such a way that you believe parental alienation might be occurring, know that this behavior can lead to feelings of severe depression within your child. Often, depression results in instances of parental alienation because, over time, children who are victims of it begin to feel as if one parent does not want or love them.
Depression is not the only potential consequence of parental alienation, however. Victims of parental alienation are more likely to develop trust issues they may carry with them for the entirety of their lives, and they are also more likely to feel a low sense of self-worth. Children who are victims of parental alienation are also more likely than their peers to develop addiction issues later in life.
If you fear your child is a victim of parental alienation, do not just let it go. Doing so can prove tremendously detrimental to your child’s growth and emotional development.