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Diritto di famigliaSLF Avvocati NotizieParental Alienation vs Parental Alignment

7 Settembre 2023

It’s crucial to distinguish between parental alienation and alignment. Alignment occurs when a child develops a preference for one parent post-separation, often due to their own feelings or experiences, rather than the actions of the other parent.

Whereas, parental alienation, involves one parent’s deliberate efforts to manipulate the child’s perceptions, which can lead to a complete rejection of the other parent and sometimes their extended family.

Parental alienation often affects families navigating separation or divorce.

The Dynamics of Parental Alienation

Research underscores the gravity of parental alienation, particularly in high-conflict parenting scenarios. The detrimental impact is rooted in various tactics used to erode the child’s perception of the alienated parent.

These tactics include:

  1. Criticising or Belittling: One parent demeans the other in the child’s presence, fostering negative associations.
  2. Sharing Divorce Details: Discussing the separation’s with the child places them in the middle, fostering confusion and resentment.
  3. Using the Child as a Conduit: Inappropriately involving the child in spying or sharing information about the other parent forces them into an adult role.
  4. Withholding Access: Deliberately limiting the child’s contact with the other parent disrupts their relationship.
  5. False Abuse Allegations: Accusing the other parent of abuse without substantiated evidence manipulates the child’s perception.
  6. Fabricating False Claims: Creating untrue narratives about the alienated parent further poisons the child’s perspective.
  7. Monitoring Communication: Monitoring and controlling the child’s interactions with the other parent diminishes their relationship.

The Consequences of Parental Alienation

The consequences of parental alienation extend beyond strained relationships. Both the alienated parent and the child are at risk of enduring severe psychological trauma due to the manipulation and false accusations. The child, influenced by these tactics, may struggle with identity conflict, emotional turmoil, and difficulty forming healthy relationships in the future.

The Enigma of Turning Against a Parent

A defining characteristic of parental alienation is the unexplained and severe shift in a child’s attitude towards the alienated parent. Unlike alignment, where reasons for preference might be discerned, alienation baffles the other parent or close friends and family by the abruptness and intensity of the child’s animosity.

Parental alienation represents a distressing and damaging dynamic that disrupts the natural bond between parents and children. It’s imperative to recognize the signs and consequences of this behaviour in order to mitigate its harmful effects and provide the necessary support for both the alienated parent and the child.

Addressing parental alienation requires a multi-faceted approach involving legal intervention, therapy, and education to help families heal and rebuild meaningful relationships.

If you believe that you may be a victim to parental alienation or would like further information please contact our Family Law Team.