Parental alienation is a big issue in divorcing families. This happens when one parent decides they want to ruin the relationship between their co-parent and child. The reasons differ, but the end result is often the same: a damaged family, and a child with trauma.
The first thing you can do to prevent this is to keep an eye out for red flags. Some might be harder to spot than you think, though.
Psychiatric Times discusses parental alienation and how it can manifest. First, pay attention to small changes in how your child treats you. The big red flag is when your child rejects spending time with you entirely. But this often happens in later stages of parental alienation.
In earlier stages, they may nitpick over little things. They might suddenly take issue with the way you keep your house clean, for example. They might suddenly reject a favored dish from you that they normally enjoy eating. They might have gripes about behavioral ticks of yours that did not bother them before.
Keep your eyes peeled for behavioral effects, too. Your child may suddenly start to withdraw and seem sullen or guilt-ridden. They might even show signs of depression, which children can manifest early on. They might instead begin to lash out at others. They could begin to reject authority figures and start acting out in school or daycare, depending on their age.
The devastating impact of parental alienation can echo through your child’s entire life. Act quick if you notice the signs. Contact a legal expert to decide what you should do next.