When it comes to divorce, it is easy for things to become combative and spiral out of control. Adding children to the mix can further complicate matters and compel parents to see each other as competitors or the enemy. This makes the situation ripe for one or both parents to attempt parental alienation.
According to Psychology Today, parental alienation involves the practice of attempting to turn the children against the other parent. This might involve making deprecating comments, trying to keep the children physically distanced from the other parent or accusing the other partner of abuse.
Why it happens
Desperation is most often the reason parents turn to parental alienation to keep the children. They might worry that their relationship with the children might change or their partners might attempt to take them away. However, some people are also simply malicious and see it as an opportunity to get back at their exes, even if it means putting the children’s mental health at risk.
What the effects are
When parents engage in parental alienation, the offending parent often permanently ruins the bond with their children once they discover the truth. It also represents one of the primary ways that women lose custody of their children. Forbes points out that when women claim abuse and the men claim parental alienation, men tend to get the children. When this happens, women might need to pay child support.
The sad reality also addressed in the article is that oftentimes, the women are not making false accusations. They have, in fact, suffered abuse at the hands of their spouses. However, if they cannot prove it, the consequences of even unproven parental alienation can feel devastating.