5 Behaviors of Alienating Parents — The Long Term Effects of Parental Alienation

Here are 5 Common Behaviors of Alienating Parents:

1. Bad mouthing the other parent to the child and in front of the child

Frequently alienating parents will say extremely negative things about the other parent not only in front of the child but to the child as well. The negativity can reach a level of an unending campaign or a rapid fire list of negativity about that parent. The allegations can include that the soon to be rejected parent has poor parenting skills, never really cared for the child and in fact was at times so angry he or she was very abusive. When such allegations are repeated frequently, loudly and intensely enough they become a reality to the child.

Actually, sometimes these behaviors become “facts” for the adult as well.

2. Limiting contact between the child and the other parent

An alienating parent will frequently sign a child up for numerous activities in order for the child to be so preoccupied that there will very little time left for the soon to be rejected parent. There have been incidences where children were hospitalized and have gone through surgery without the other parent knowing. When the child is released from medical care, the child will confront the parent as to why they didn’t come to see them. If a court leaves the time sharing up to the alienating parent the soon to be rejected parent will have very little if any access to the child. Limiting contact between a parent and a child provides the opportunity for the alienating parent to tell the child all kinds of lies about that parent. Without opportunities to counter the falsehoods, the rejected parent’s absence is capitalized on by the alienating parent.

3.  Erasing the other parent from the life and mind of the child

It is common for alienating parents to remove any evidence that the soon to be rejected parent ever lived there or is even alive. Photographs, belongings and even activities that that parent engaged in with the child are discarded.

In the example of activities, the child is discouraged from continuing in those activities that they participated in with the other parent.  If the child and parent were involved in soccer, the child will be discouraged from continuing in soccer suggesting that they never really liked that sport anyway. Their prior including in the sport will be used as proof that the other parent forced them to do things they did really want to do.

4. Creating the idea/impression that the other parent is dangerous

The alienating parent will “preach” that they have to be ever vigilant to watch out for the other parent because of their angry episodes and outbursts.  One parent actually would tell the children to “run” when they would see the other parent instilling fear in the children at the very sight of the rejected parent.

This behavior would occur even when there was no possibility that the rejected parent could hurt because they were across the street during a parade that was passing by. Frequently children would be “reminded” of incidents when the other parent was abusive to the parent and child even though that never really happened. Also, children would be allowed to read court motions and pleadings that described allegations of abuse by the other parent. The legal documentation would be presented as proof that the abusive behaviors actually occurred.

5. Forcing the child to choose parents

The forcing can be giving children obvious choices such as “do you want to go with the soon to be rejected parent or go to your friend’s house for a sleepover?”  Such choices become common place with the child making choice that is presented as the most fun. In addition alienating parents will have long, overly dramatic “good byes” that communicate that the parent is suffering tremendously by the child’s absence. Also, this suffering is being caused by the rejected parent’s selfishness in wanting to take the child from the alienating parent.

In some extreme cases the alienating parent will actually tell the child to choose, “if you love me, then stay here, if you don’t go with them”. This will be followed with “I don’t know what I did to deserve this rejection, after all I’m not the one that left us”. There will be very strong emphasis on “us”, not to leave the child out.  He or she divorced “us”.

[Source:  http://nationalassociationofparentalalienationspecialists.com/ ]

via 5 Behaviors of Alienating Parents — The Long Term Effects of Parental Alienation

Personally, both my children and I have been the victims of parental alienation.  I have seen, witnessed and been the target of all five of these alienating behaviors in my marriage, then worsening during my separation and worsening even more after my divorce.

With all of the information out there, why are judges, lawyers and other professionals in the family law system willing to turn a blind eye to parental alienation when it occurs?  How is ignoring the issue in the children’s best interests?

Many of these people likely have children themselves.  If their spouse or former spouse did everything they could to ruin their relationship with their children, how would they feel?  What would they do?  Would they be okay with the family court system turning a blind eye to what is really going on?  Would they be okay waiting six months or a year [for the hope] to be heard in court while the alienation continues unchecked?


3 thoughts on “5 Behaviors of Alienating Parents — The Long Term Effects of Parental Alienation

  1. Did you ever go back to court for some of the behaviors you have listed? If you have joint legal custody, there’s no way the other parent could get away with keeping surgery a secret. What’s horrible is that some people manipulate the system to hurt or gain control over the other parent. In some cases, the parent will frame the other parent for alienation to gain any upper hand and sympathy which is why divorce is so ugly.


    1. Dear fyidivorce,

      Read some of you blog. Your recent post on Co-Parenting with Jekyll & Hyde seems on point.


      It is easy for someone to alienate children. Doesn’t cost them a dime. It’s what they want/choose to do. They believe they’re justified and right in doing what they do. They are mean and conscending one day. Nice and apologetic the next. The cycle repeats itself and gets worse over time. By their very nature, they cannot help themselves or stop what they do. I could go on and on.

      Yes, I have pursued court twice (once in CT & NC and a second time in NC) and have yet to have “my day in court.” Have my doubts that day will ever come. If it does, there’s no guarantee anything will change. As you mention, the system is in disrepair. Alienation happens now. Redress in the courts, if possible, easily takes a year or more.

      There will be more to my story in future posts. High conflict divorce involving custody issues is tough on all involved, especially the children. The non-custodial, targeted parent is in a powerless position to affect change in such a toxic situation.

      Someone once said to me during my divorce that my strength was in my powerlessness. I am still waiting for them to be correct….

      Sincerely, fhinterrupted

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Divorce is not pretty. So far, it’s been as fair as it can go when I look at it from the court’s perspective. The court system is flawed. In any high conflict divorce, counseling should be mandatory for all involved; especially the children. I’m sure manipulators also have the capability to dupe counselors, but what else is there? I want to encourage you to file EVERYTHING with the court. It doesn’t matter if you feel like no one is listening – at least there is a record and you have a paper trail. If you have joint legal custody and your children went into surgery, you have a right to do something about it and she’s definitely in contempt of court. I don’t think there is such a thing as “your day in court.” People think saying stuff like that makes others feel better. Also remember, every court appearance impacts the children indirectly, because both parents stress over it on top of life’s normal day to day stress. Most of all I pray and I’ve never had to rely on God as much as I do now.


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