Sep 25, 2020
If you have been through a separation you will probably have felt emotions ranging from anger, to sadness, to relief.
It can be near impossible for those feelings to be hidden entirely and nor should they be. However from time to time, harm can come from things said and done during and after a divorce. One particularly troubling situation is where one parent begins to adversely influence their child’s relationship with the other. It can lead to a something recognised in law as ‘parental alienation’.
Parental alienation can take many forms and it may not be deliberate. The Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (CAFASS), describes it in terms of any psychological manipulation that leads the child to unjustifiably resist or be hostile towards a parent. One parent may speak negatively about the other, chipping away at the child’s trust in that person. A mother might tell her child that they mustn’t talk about their father in her house, or that the child doesn’t have to spend time with dad if they don’t want to. A father might ask his child to report back on what mum’s been up to.
Of course there will be situations in which it will be right for distance to be put between a child and a parent but in the main, it is in a child’s best interest to be in regular contact and to spend quality time with both parents and for the child’s feelings towards one not to be negatively influenced by the other. What parental alienation does is create doubt in a child’s mind about their relationship with at least one of their parents. It can cause them to harbour bad feelings towards that parent and to not want to be around them. It can be extremely damaging and can have long-lasting effects on children and on the family unit.
There is a world of difference between letting off steam about an ex with a friend or with a Family Law solicitor and intentionally or unintentionally turning your child against that parent. The former is to be expected; it’s a normal part of the separation process and we and your network of friends will be ready to help you through it. Just spare your child the ordeal and in particular, avoid any form of adverse manipulation. Unless there is a good reason not to (and we’ll be able to advise you on that), helping your child maintain a strong and healthy relationship with their other parent is a sound investment in that young person’s future.
Please contact one of our specialist solicitors on firstname.lastname@example.org or 01264 353411. We would be happy to help you.
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