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The harmful effects of parental alienation

On Behalf of | Jun 13, 2023 | Family Law

Parental alienation is a harmful issue that has long-lasting effects on children. It occurs when one parent tries to turn their children against the other parent, often by making negative comments, spreading lies or withholding visitation. The harm that parental alienation creates sometimes lasts an entire lifetime.

Why parental alienation is so harmful to kids

Parental alienation can lead to emotional and mental health problems. When a parent subjects their children to these behaviors, they experience intense emotions that can lead to anxiety, low self-esteem and depression. Children often develop trust issues because of parental alienation and have trouble forming relationships.

Parent-child relationship

The damage caused to the parent-child relationship can often be irreversible. Children subjected to parental alienation usually act in a way that looks like the alienating parent brainwashed them. These children often absorb the negative emotions of the parent causing the problem, and the children lose trust in the targeted parent. They can also become hostile and aggressive towards the targeted parent. The breakdown of this relationship is challenging to repair.

Academic performance

While this is not always the case, parental alienation can harm children’s academic performance at school. The emotional experience can feel so heavy that they become distracted and cannot focus on academics, sports and other activities that children their age should focus on.

Behavioral issues

Children who a parent victimizes in this way can develop behavioral problems and act out at school. While it is not always the case, some children cannot cope with the complex emotions of parental alienation, which can manifest in their behavior.

Effects on future relationships

One of the most devastating effects of parental alienation is that it can, and often does, hurt children’s future relationships. Unfortunately, these children missed seeing what a loving co-parenting relationship looks like, and all they believe, at least while they are young, is that one parent is good and the other is bad.

Parental alienation is challenging to prove, so it is hard for courts to intervene when this happens. However, it is a grave issue that can have long-term effects on children. Parents need to recognize the harm these actions and behaviors of the alienating parent cause their children. Usually, these adults think they are somehow getting back at the other parent by doing this, without realizing that the people most harmed by this are the children.