At the Joliet family law firm of Sabuco, Beck, Hansen, Massino & Pollack, P.C., our attorneys routinely see parents come in that are hurt and upset about their child’s attitude toward him or her. It is normal for a child to feel negative emotions towards their parents during a divorce; however, it is not normal if those negative emotions are coming out in the form of the refusal to see one parent, name calling, or even a flat-out hatred towards one parent in particular. When a child acts aggressively towards one parent and not the other in a divorce case, we like to investigate into the situation a bit further, as parental alienation may be at play.
What Is Parental Alienation?
Parental alienation is the manipulation of a child’s emotions by one parent towards the other parent. This can come in the form of nasty remarks about the other parent to the child, or it can be much more hurtful to the child, such as telling the child that the other parent does not want to see him or her. While parental alienation is hurtful to the alienated parent, it is more detrimental to the child. Parental alienation can significantly and negatively impact a parent-child relationship, leaving a parental gap in a child’s life where there should not be one. Though parental alienation is not formally recognized as a mental disorder, it should be, as the negative implications it can have on a child’s future are severe. From relationship disorders to ongoing behavioral issues, parental alienation is not a “common side effect of divorce”; it is a harmful manipulation technique employed only by parents with mental and behavioral problems of their own.
Joliet Family Law Attorneys Help Combat Parental Alienation
If you feel helpless because your child will not speak to you or see you, and if you did not do anything to warrant such treatment, you may be dealing with parental alienation. If you suspect that you are, do not waste any time and contact the Joliet family law attorneys at Sabuco, Beck, Hansen, Massino & Pollack, P.C. In the meantime, consider these tips for combatting parental alienation:
- Control your anger. We know this may be difficult, but getting angry will only make matters worse for you, not better.
- Record each negative event as they happen.
- Always call your child when you say you will, and always show up at your regular visitation time, even if your child refuses to see or speak to you.
- When your child does spend time with you, focus only on the good.
- Do not argue or be defensive with your child.
- If possible, get counseling for your child.
- Do not do anything to violate court orders, such as refuse to let the other parent have the child back after your visitation time is up.
- Do not participate in parental alienation yourself just to get back at your ex.
The most important thing you can do is to go back to court and inform the judge of the situation. If you are not getting your required parenting time, ask the court to hold the other parent in contempt of court. If they will not do that, at least ask them to order make-up time with your child. The sooner you contact the courts about the situation, the more likely the problem can be stopped in a legal and effective manner.
Contact a Joliet Family Lawyer Right Away
Because parental alienation can have such a devastating affect on a child, it is imperative that you put an end to it right away. This often means working with a family law attorney to take your case to the court. If you are the victim of parental alienation and if you want to stop the manipulation before it has lasting consequences on your child’s emotional well being, contact the law firm of Sabuco, Beck, Hansen, Massino & Pollack, P.C. at 815-730-8860 today.