A successful custody agreement preserves a child’s relationship with both parents. However, in some instances, when there is great strife between the parents, one parent will demean or disparage the other to such an extent they negatively alter the child’s view of the opposite parent. This is what’s called “parental alienation.”
New York takes parental alienation very seriously. If a lawyer can prove that the child has turned on one parent due to the other parent’s manipulation, courts may alter custody arrangements or even negate child support agreements.
Do you suspect your co-parent of alienating you?
If your co-parent has a personality disorder or narcissistic personality, parental alienation is more likely. You should remain vigilant. Be extremely intentional about nurturing your relationship with your child in these circumstances, which hopefully is already the case.
Also, there is an equal likelihood of men and women engaging in alienating behaviors. The parent who currently has more physical custody, however, may be more likely if they disapprove of the way their co-parent operates.
Here are the signs to look for:
- Your child asks you not to go to special events, parent-teacher conferences or other significant parental support activities.
- Your co-parent attempts to shut you out either subtly or outright from parental obligations like school functions and special events.
- Your child’s temperament changes drastically from calm to defiant or oppositional. They may even experience fits of rage.
- Your child begins to expect parental compromises or gifts that are not typical of your relationship with them. This is a sign of that they are being spoiled or, in extreme cases, bribed, by the opposite co-parent.
- Your child refuses to acknowledge the good times they’ve had with you.
- Your child outright complains about you or belittles you to an extreme.
- Your child claims that their new and negative opinion of you is of their own making; they will not acknowledge the co-parent’s role in this view.
The long-reaching consequences
Beyond parental alienation’s effects on you and your relationship with your child, it can have devastating effects on a child’s psyche. Evidence suggests that it can make your child more susceptible to depression or even a personality disorder later in life.
For your good and the wellbeing of your child, do not allow parental manipulation to perpetuate. You have legal options. Explore those options and your opportunity to reengage in a positive relationship with the child you love.