Parental alienation post-divorce is sadly, all-too-common. Nevertheless, it can significantly harm a child mentally and emotionally as well as erode the parent-child relationship. The following is a brief overview of three ways parental alienation can harm children.
A child and their two parents compromise a “triangle.” This may mean that one side of the triangle experiences conflict while the other side is in conflict, meaning there is an “odd man out.” In parental alienation, it is the child that is placed between the two parents. Constant anger by one parent towards the other could cause the child to go against the targeted parent.
Identity of self
Children need to have a safe space to identify who they are as a person. In parental alienation situations, a child may be so dependent on the approval of the alienating parent that they reject their other parent, which negatively affects their differentiation of self.
Projection occurs when one parent’s negative feelings toward the other parent shape the child’s development in a way that the child essentially embodies these perceptions. This allows the alienated parent to introject their views on their child to the point where the child believes these views are their own.
Parental alienation harms children
These are only three ways that parental alienation can harm children. Even if parents have a contentious relationship post-divorce, they should at least cooperate in raising their child. Unfortunately, this does not always happen. If you are experiencing parental alienation, you will want to seek the advice you need to protect your rights to your child.