Parental alienation can be devastating to your relationship with your child. Your child’s behavior towards you can change in the blink of an eye, and he or she may develop false beliefs about you that last a long time.
As we’ve discussed on this blog, there are a number of actions that you can take to stop parental alienation, but many parents who have been alienated from their children feel like the damage has already been done and that it’s too late to repair their relationship with their child. This simply isn’t true.
How to rebuild your relationship after parental alienation
Rebuilding your relationship with your child is going to take time. But by being patient, following some the steps identified below, and persevering, you may be able to successfully rebuild your relationship with your child. Here are some of the steps that you can take to do so:
- Stop the alienating behavior: We’ve discussed this extensively on the blog, but it is, of course, the first step toward rebuilding your relationship. So, have conversations with your child that try to separate him or her from the alienating parent. Continue to remind them that you are there for them and that you’re willing to work on the relationship. Taking legal action to cut the child off from the alienating parent may be necessary, too, which may require you to discuss your circumstances with an expert who can then testify on your behalf.
- Help the child develop his or her own thoughts: Parental alienation takes away your child’s ability to think for himself or herself. Instead, the child latches onto whatever information the alienating parent feeds them. To break this cycle, you’ll want to engage your child in dialogue that forces him or her to question the reality of the situation. For example, if he or she feels like you’ve never been there for him or her, ask whether you’re there for them now and whether the actions that you took in the past are indicative of wanting to be there for them.
- Suspend their beliefs through action: Again, if your child has been alienated from you, then there are a lot of preconceived notions baked into his or her thinking. You want to put those thoughts to rest without being too aggressive about it or too lax as a parent. For example, if your child once thought that you were dangerous, then it might be a good idea for you to set appropriate boundaries, fulfill promises that you make, and ensure that you hold firm to your boundaries even if the child tries to challenge you.
- Don’t be who you were portrayed to be: Since your child’s view of you has been warped through alienation, you’ll want to work extra hard to show the child that you’re not who they think you are. So, if your child has been tricked into believing that you’re overly aggressive, then try to present a consistently calm demeanor. This will change how your child views you and interacts with you, and it will cause them to question what the alienating parent has told them.
- Rebuild trust: As your child starts to come around to you, be supportive of them, even once they realize that they’ve treated you unfairly in the past. Don’t hold their previous actions against them. Be forgiving. Remember, they’ve been alienated against their wishes. Be open and honest with your child, too. If they start asking about things that the alienating parent has told them, let them know what is true, what is false, and what has been taken out of context.
Fight to protect your child and your relationship with him or her
Parental alienation is abusive and unfair to both you and your child. That’s why you should take quick action to bring it to a stop, then diligently work to repair the damage that has been caused to your relationship with your child. If you could use some assistance in that regard, then please know that experienced professionals like those at our firm stand ready to assist you.