Ensuring that children feel loved and secure should be the top priority during any family turmoil. Unfortunately, during tense times such as a divorce or separation, a spouse may resort to alienating children from the other parent.
Parental alienation can be deeply damaging for children and their relationship with the targeted parent. Here are some signs to look out for if you suspect your spouse is attempting to alienate your children from you.
1. Badmouthing and blame
A common tactic used in parental alienation is badmouthing the targeted parent. If you notice that your children suddenly have negative opinions of you that mirror those of your spouse, or if they start blaming you for the separation, this could be a sign of parental alienation.
2. Creating conflict
Another sign is if your spouse is constantly creating or exaggerating conflicts in front of your children so that they start to become afraid or apprehensive around you. They may make these conflicts seem like your fault, leading your children to view you as the ‘bad guy.’
3. Limiting contact
If your spouse is intentionally limiting your contact or communication with your children, this can be another tactic of parental alienation. This could include not passing along messages, obstructing visitation times or creating obstacles that prevent you from spending quality time with your children.
4. Cultivating dependency
Your spouse might try to make themselves the primary source of comfort, support and decision-making in your children’s lives. This over-dependence can create a rift between you and your children and paint you as the less capable parent.
If you believe your spouse is trying to alienate your children from you, you should take steps to address the issue. You might consider seeking professional help, such as a child psychologist, to navigate this delicate situation in the best way possible.