Parental alienation is on the rise: 5 steps to stop it

The agency that looks after children’s interests in family courts, the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass), has said that divorced parents who “brainwash” them against former partners are guilty of abuse.

The disturbing disorder affects some young people to such a degree that they terminate all contact with one parent. Children in custody battles can be affected as a result of one parent’s all-consuming campaign to brainwash them over a prolonged period – using them as a weapon against their ex-partner. In extreme cases, it is reported that youngsters have made up allegations, including abuse, against their estranged parent.

Following the adage that prevention is better than cure, we would urge parents who are tempted to instigate such situations to stop manipulating their children – and follow the steps below to ensure they always put their interests first:

  1. Think carefully about the impact your behaviour is having on your children. Don’t criticise your ex in front of them and avoid asking them directly or indirectly to take sides – no matter how resentful and bitter you feel about your former spouse.
  2. Always bear in mind that children need to feel loved by both parents as they struggle to come to terms with the breakdown of family life as they know it.
  3. Remember that children of all ages, particularly teenagers, are vulnerable to emotional manipulation – and consider the long-term impact on their health and wellbeing.
  4. Encourage your children to see their other parent and show a genuine interest in what they do during their time with your former partner.
  5. If you, your children or your ex aren’t coping then do seek external help and support. At Jones Myers we take a holistic approach to separation and divorce, referring clients to appropriate professionals such as counsellors or therapists who are experienced in helping families and individuals deal with the fallout of a broken relationship.

Our dedicated Children Department is made up of some of the most experienced professionals balancing the needs of children and their parents in wide-ranging issues. As collaborative family lawyers, we advise parents to reach a settlement, wherever possible, by avoiding protracted, expensive and stressful court confrontations.

If you have any comments, queries or concerns on children, divorce or family law related issues, leave a comment below, call the team at Jones Myers on 0113 246 0055 or tweet us on @helpwithdivorce

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