Parental alienation

Parental alienation involves the attempt by a parent to use methods of psychological manipulation to alienate a child from the other parent. It is a factor increasingly considered by the Court when it comes to Children Act proceedings.

We’ve put together a checklist of preliminary points to consider that will provide you with the best chance of counteracting attempts at alienation:

  • Agree on a timetable for contact with your children as soon as possible after the separation, and then stick to it as closely as possible. Don’t “let the dust settle” before broaching the subject with your ex-partner.
  • Try not to agree to contact times that conflict with your children’s other pre-existing activities, as this may provide a perverse incentive for your children not to see you.
  • Try not to “compete” with your ex-partner when it comes to your children. Just because your ex-partner feels the need to “buy” your children’s loyalty does not mean that you should attempt to outbid them. In the long run, good and consistent parenting should be the focus.
  • If you feel as if your ex-partner is manipulating you and your children, have a trusted family member, friend, professional mediator, or lawyer present when holding discussions with the ex-partner.
  • Keep a record of evidence and incidents that contradict claims made by your ex-partner about you. However, do not engage or participate in conflict with them.
  • Try to be emotionally smart – recognise that your ex-partner is the one most likely to know your personal weaknesses and, therefore, know how best to try to hurt you further or provoke you into the kind of outburst that they’re seeking as evidence of their claims.
  • Consider contacting a local support group, others in the same situation as you, or those who have overcome Parental Alienation.