What The Law Says About Parental Alienation

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What The Law Says About Parental Alienation

Tension can understandably rise when going through a separation or divorce. Going through separation with your partner can be a stressful, and very emotional process, even more so when children are involved. Although this is a stressful period of time, it’s important for parents to try and put their differences aside for the sake of the children.

One parent purposely negatively impacting a child's view of the other parent is considered parental alienation. Noticing signs of parental alienation (PA) is key - nobody wants their child to be negatively influenced by the other parent involved.

Parenting comes with an array of challenges, however it is imperative that the parents understand that the children have a fundamental right to a full and meaningful relationship with both of their parents, providing of course that they are safe and looked-after, however it is not acceptable to denigrate a parent in front of the children.

If you’ve never experienced parental alienation before, it might be harder to notice when it’s happening. Feeling alienated can cause serious damage to your mental health, which is why it’s important to speak to a professional and get the support, guidance and advice you need. To find out more information about what the law says about parental alienation, continue reading.


What is Parental Alienation?

What is parental alienation? Parental alienation is a form of emotional abuse and occurs when parents are conflicting or separating. Alienation is a strategy used by one parent against another, intentionally trying to sabotage the child's relationship with the other parent, no longer allowing them to be an independant thinker. Parental alienation often causes more problems, creating a divide within the family and creating unnecessary upset for the child involved.

Adults who conflict in front of their children could potentially cause lasting issues and trauma later in their lives. Family disputes are never easy, but it's vital to do your best to keep your children out of the situation. In the worst-case scenario, the law will step in when a child's well-being and overall welfare suffer as a result of their parent's actions and attempts to alienate the other parent.

Cafcass is an organisation that helps assist the Courts in cases involving disputes concerning children they’ve defined parental alienation as when a child's resistance or hostility towards one parent is not justified and results in psychological manipulation by the other parent. This type of behaviour is classed as a form of child abuse. Children can be impacted through manipulation, criticism and other various negative behaviours.


Signs of Parental Alienation

Specific behaviours are associated with parental alienation. It might be challenging at first to know whether your child is subject to manipulation from the other parent, but noticing these signs could help you indicate whether alienation is occurring.

  • Spending time bad mouthing
  • Accusing the targeted parent of not loving the child
  • Sharing relationship issues with the child
  • Making negative remarks about the targeted parents family or friends
  • Hiding the child
  • Moving away and taking the child with you
  • Intercepting calls and messages between the child and their other parent
  • Restricting visitation
  • Withholding contact information from the other parent


Alienated Children

Children who are being alienated from their other parents often show symptoms of parental alienation syndrome (PAS). If a child relentlessly engages in name-calling, criticism and depreciation, they could be displaying signs of parental alienation syndrome.

If a child gives giddy answers when asked about their criticism, this could be a sign that a parent has influenced them to act this way. Children trust their parents and take on board what they say, often soaking up information. It’s clear to see why it's so easy for an adult to manipulate a child's way of thinking.

It’s common for children to take sides with one parent over the other when alienation is happening. They start to believe that one parent is good and the other one is bad. This leads to the child having a preferred parent, which results in them only doing as one parent says and dismissing the other.

If a child does show favouritism to one parent, they’ll begin to lack compassion and understanding of the other parent. They won’t feel sorry for the parent who is being subject to the abuse and won’t show empathy for their treatment of the parent in question.


How Parental Alienation Affects a Child in Adulthood

If you’re being alienated from one parent as a child, you could be affected in your later years. Improper parenting causes a plethora of negative psychological and social outcomes. Not only could these children struggle to act as a parent themselves, but they could suffer from low self-esteem and self-hatred as an adult - all caused by their upbringing.

As a child, it can be upsetting to hear that one of your parents doesn’t love you. The parent making such assumptions often doesn't understand just how impactful their words can be on their child's future, which is why they continue to act this way.

Depression and anxiety are both linked to adults who have lived through parental alienation as a minor. As we all know, depression and anxiety can lead to other serious problems, affecting their life completely. These feelings stem from being told that they were unloved or unwanted by one parent as a child, which is something no one wants to ever hear.


How Bell Lamb & Joynson Can Help

Here at Bell Lamb & Joynson, we dedicate time and effort to making sure our clients are provided with the best services. Family is everything, which is why it’s so important to deal with your issues in the safest, most positive way possible. When times get tough, our team are here to help.

We deliver the best guidance and support, whilst offering expert advice. We’re on hand to lend a listening ear - we assure our clients that our offices are a safe space for individuals to be open and honest about their emotions and difficulties.

Our friendly, kind and considerate family law solicitors have a wealth of knowledge and experience within the industry. Whether it’s relationship breakdowns, divorce or domestic abuse, we’ll be able to assist you. We’ve taken on the most tedious of cases and achieved great results for all parties involved.

If you’d like to find out more, don’t hesitate to contact a member of our team today by calling us on 03444 124348. We look forward to hearing from you in the near future.

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