On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in divorce on Wednesday, December 13, 2017.
In Missouri, many families have been affected by divorce. In most cases, the adults involved understand that it is critical for children to have a positive relationship with both parents. Unfortunately, some parents deliberately attempt to manipulate their children into having negative feelings about the other parent.
This phenomenon, called parental alienation, can take many forms. The parent who perpetrates the alienation may frequently disparage the other parent or make accusations against him or her. A child may respond by refusing or sabotaging visitation or treating the other parent with disrespect and hostility.
Unfortunately, the symptoms of parental alienation may be difficult to identify and discern at first. Children of divorce sometimes do develop behavioral problems or experience emotional distress, particularly if one parent has just recently left the family home. It may not be until the situation has escalated to a crisis point that the actions of the other parent become obvious.
Parental alienation occurs when a parent is unable or unwilling to fully acknowledge a child’s needs. This may be due to a personality disorder or other mental illness. Regardless of the reason, however, such conduct can have a devastating impact on the child, the other parent and extended family members. The longer it continues, the further the damage to the relationship between parent and child.
Parents who believe that they are the victims of alienation may benefit from speaking with an experienced family law attorney. The lawyer may be able to review the client’s case and develop strategies for addressing the problem, including obtaining psychological evaluations for the children, counseling interventions and possibly a modification of the original child custody agreement.