Welcome back and thanks for joining us here at The Kronzek Firm. We’ve been discussing the subject of parental alienation, which is thought by some to be the specific type of emotional and psychological abuse where a parent tries poisoning a child against their other parent. It’s a form of toxic parenting, and it’s extremely damaging to a child’s emotional wellbeing, both in the short term and from a long term perspective. While the phrases “parental alienation” and “parental alienation syndrome” are controversial, it is not disputed that some parents do things that will drive a wedge between the children and the other parent. Unfortunately, as we mentioned in the previous article, we see way too much of it in the contentious divorce cases we handle here in the mid-Michigan area. Of course our judges in and around Lansing are fully aware of this kind of behavior by certain parents.
Poisoning kids against their parents is a terrible way to act!
Although Lansing sees thousands, of divorce cases every year, not every one of those is a bitter fight between parents. But the divorces that do end badly, tend to be quite unpleasant for everyone involved, and in those cases we’ve seen quite a bit of toxic parenting. Thankfully the family courts in Ingham, Eaton, Livingston and Clinton Counties are becoming more familiar with the signs of parental alienation. But that doesn’t mean you should not familiarize yourself with the more common methods used by toxic parents. You never know when you might need to recognize them! Better yet, hire an attorney with extensive experience handling parents that behave badly to the detriment of their children. After all, it’s the kids that suffer the most when they’re victimized by a parent that is poisoning them against their other parent.
Kids can be conditioned to think about their parents in a negative way!
Toxic parents who try to alienate their children from their other parent tend to use very specific methods in poisoning those relationships. In most cases, it’s intentional actions and statements that communicate certain negative ideas to children about their other parent – ideas that reinforce the “uselessness” or “dangerousness” of that parent. These can include your ex:
- Offering your child a choice with regards to visitation, when the court has clearly ruled that there’s no option.
- Telling your child the intimate details of your marriage, which includes hurtful things you may have said or done. (This causes your child to feel protective of their “wounded” parent and therefore, adverse to being with the “bad” or “mean” parent – which is you!)
- Telling your child that you’re to blame for financial difficulties, or for the “broken” state of the family.
- Telling your child that you’re the reason why they have to go without certain things they need or want.
- Using your child to “spy” or “gather intelligence” on you, which sends a message to the child that you’re not worthy of respect.
- Acting as if your child is in need of protection from you, which reinforces the notion that you pose a threat, or are dangerous.
Parental alienation harms more than just relationships – it harms children!
Parents need to remember that children are essentially the product of two people. By disparaging a child’s other parent, one is disparaging part of that child. (This is one of the many reasons parental alienation is actually very harmful for a child’s psyche!) Parents would do well to exercise respect and caution when speaking about their ex in front of their child. The old saying “treat others the way you would want to be treated” is a perfect example of how to discuss their other parent in front of your kids. But it can be very hard, especially when the divorce is contentious. Michigan law is very clear. Children have a right to a close and continuing relationship, as well as the love and affection of both parents.
Many mental health professionals believe that the adversarial nature of the court system actually aggravates the problem. Often divorcing parents are put in a “me against you” situation where they’re pitted against each other and told they have to fight for anything they hope to get or keep after the marriage has ended. This, added onto what already be years of emotional pain and frustration. Our family law attorneys don’t necessarily disagree that putting parents into adversarial roles against one another is bad for kids. It’s just that we don’t have a better system in place. That said, our divorce and custody attorneys are trained to deal with child related issues (such as custody and parenting time) in a peaceful, collaborative way when both parents want to do so. We’re big fans of peaceful divorce!
Lansing-area parents will need help from very experienced family law attorneys
If you’re headed into a difficult divorce or custody fight, or the other parent is showing signs of poisoning your children against you through toxic parenting and manipulation, you’re going to need expert help quickly. And that’s where we come in. Here at The Kronzek Firm our aggressive and highly skilled family law attorneys have helped parents throughout the Lansing, Holt, Charlotte, Jackson, St. Johns and Brighton areas. If you live in Okemos, Howell, Ionia, Pewamo, Lansing or Jackson, we can fight for you and your children. We also have experts in the field of parental alienation that we sometimes bring in to assist our team of custody lawyers. Call 517 886 1000 today and make sure your legal team is top notch, and your children are protected.