On behalf of Ronald H. Kauffman, P.A. posted in Child Custody on Friday, August 2, 2013.

During a contested divorce involving child custody or parenting plan, it is common for parents to accuse each other of manipulating the children to criticize and complain about the other parent, and even to destroy a parent’s relationship with the children.

We call it Parental Alienation Syndrome, and it is very common during a heated divorce for a parent to use the children in the war against the other parent.

The danger of parental alienation is that the kids need to show affection for their parents, and need to receive affection back from both parents. But when one parent convinces a child to think the other parent is breaking up the family, or is the enemy who should be hated and disrespected, the parent child relationship is undermined.

  • Here are some signs of Parental Alienation Syndrome to watch out for:
  • Bad-mouthing the other parent to the children
  • Limiting contact
  • Erasing the parent from the children’s lives
  • Forcing the children to reject the other parent
  • Forcing the children to choose sides
  • Creating the impression the other parent is dangerous
  • Belittling comments to the other parent in front of the children
  • Calling the children to testify against the other parent
  • Convincing the children the other parent is creating financial hardship on the family

Hopefully you will be spared this common syndrome in divorce. There is plenty of research showing that parental alienation can not only cause emotional scars in kids, but has also been seen as a cause of low self-esteem, self-hatred, depression and substance abuse in children.

If you spot any of these signs, it is important to speak to a professinal about your concerns.