Your divorce brought a storm of emotions boiling to the surface, for yourself and your current spouse whom you share children with. You know the news of your split would affect your kids, but lately, their actions seem more out of the ordinary than you expected. Could your spouse bear the blame? 

Psychology Today explains the root causes of parental alienation and how it manifests. Understand whether your soon-to-be-ex-spouse engaged in activity that the courts do not approve of. 

Common reasons for parental alienation

Often, the motivating factor for divorcing parents to weaponize their kids is divorce related (i.e. timeshare & child support.) By twisting a child’s emotions toward the other parent, the angry parent also has a way to make the targeted parent suffer. The angry parent wants revenge against the other parent for the divorce, even if the other parent wanted to split. Parents engaged in alienating behavior often also want to continue receiving love and affirmation from their children.

Common examples of parental alienation

Upset parents who want to alienate their children against the targeted parent often speak ill of the other parent. Alienating parents may tell their children lies about the other parent. To retain custody, the alienating mother or father may tell their kids how much they need them and how they cannot function without them in their lives. 

Addressing parental alienation

If any of the above rings true, take steps to cease parental alienation. You can request a court order for your kids to live with you, or you can ask for supervised visitations when your kids visit the alienating parent. Consider having your children see a therapist to help them identify and address the psychological stress of alienating behavior. 

Do not feel that you must accept alienating behavior. The other parent may be in pain because of the divorce, but that is no excuse for destructive behavior, especially at the expense of the children.