Over the years, child and forensic psychiatrists have discovered that parents have the ability to turn their children against a co-parent during a contentious custody battle. Parental alienation syndrome (PAS) occurs when one parent constantly insults or speaks negatively about the other parent without any justification. The result is the vilification of one parent and the near brainwashing of a mutual child who has been told constantly that the other parent is bad. It is only natural to want to repair the parent-child relationship that an ex-partner has damaged, but there are three things you should never do when parental alienation is suspected.
Interrogate Your Child
Parental alienation is often subtle, and even when it is not, a child will have a difficult time believing that the alienating parent is telling them anything other than the absolute truth. For that reason, you should never direct your anger at your child or even attempt to find out exactly what the other parent is saying. Asking questions and demanding answers in an interrogatory manner will often do more harm than good, solidifying your child’s distrust of you. Instead, pay attention to what your child is saying and doing. Document their behavior and take notes on when the signs of parental alienation appeared along with how they developed or faded during your time with your child.
Complain on Social Media
Today one of the most common ways to vent a frustration or expose the misdeeds of others is posting on social media. Over 80% of all people have at least one active social medial account, making it easy to share information and get feedback on what you have shared. During a divorce or custody battle, couples turn to social media to share their fear, anger, or frustration. While that may seem therapeutic, it could also be extremely harmful to your case or personal situation. Psychologists believe that parents who contribute to parental alienation enjoy attention, manipulation, and an opportunity to vindicate themselves. Posting complaints on social media only gives your former partner another chance to engage in a public argument with you and later attempt to use your post against you in court.
Confront Your Ex
As tempting as it may be, never directly confront your ex-partner about your suspicions. Even if your ex is aware of what he or she is doing, it is unlikely that he or she will admit any wrongdoing. Instead of getting an apology or confession, you will probably end up having an argument and inadvertently warn your ex-partner of future accusations you plan to make.
Let a Child Custody Attorney Help You
Parental alienation is a serious issue that you should not attempt to handle on your own. Instead, reach out to a skilled child custody attorney who can work on your behalf to ensure your former partner is not able to continue turning your child against you. The child custody attorneys at Vayman & Teitelbaum are here to answer your questions and discuss how best to proceed. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation at one of our Atlanta area locations.