If you’ve followed our blog, then you know that parental alienation can be harmful to your child and devastate your relationship with them. Those who experience this manipulative behavior oftentimes feel like there’s nothing that can be done to remedy the situation, which leads them down a path of despair and hopelessness.
But even though parental alienation can cause a significant amount of damage, there are steps that you can take to bring it to an end and begin repairing your relationship with your child. Although legal action may be a part of that solution, this week we want to look at another aspect of the matter: talking to your alienated child.
How can you talk to your child after they’ve been subjected to alienation?
This is a difficult question for many parents to answer. After all, they feel like the damage has been done, and merely touching on topics other than those that are superficial in nature can seem pointless.
But you can make progress in communicating with your child, which is key to rebuilding your relationship with them. Here are some tips that may be helpful as you move down this path:
- Have an honest conversation about the alienation: At some point, you’re going to have to talk about the elephant in the room. You’ll want to correct any false information that your child has been led to believe, but you’ll want to do so in a delicate fashion. You can do so by validating their feelings and expressing your understanding of why their beliefs have caused them to feel the way they do. You might experience hesitation from your child, but don’t give up. It’s going to take some effort to break through to a meaningful discussion.
- Take responsibility: In the midst of parental alienation, you might’ve said or done something that supported your child’s beliefs or simply made things worse. It’s okay. We’re all human, and we all make mistakes. Be open, honest, and sincere when apologizing to your child about these actions. Showing true remorse can help rebuild trust with your child and demonstrate to them that you’re willing to be vulnerable with them to repair your relationship.
- Be reassuring: Even though your relationship might be strained, you should continue to remind your child that you love them and that you’ll always be there for them. It’s important for your child to hear that, even if they seem uninterested. It’s important, though, that you keep your expectations in check. Rebuilding your relationship is going to take time, so you’ll just need to be persistent without being impatient with your child.
- Encourage open and honest dialog: To rebuild your relationship, you’ll need your child to talk to you. They’re going to be less willing to do that if they don’t feel safe. Therefore, you’ll want to create a safe space where your child is comfortable talking about their feelings and beliefs. You can then validate these feelings and talk through them with your child. Being open and honest about your feelings can help repair trust, too, so don’t be afraid to talk about your emotions.
Do what’s necessary to protect your child and rebuild your relationship
Addressing parental alienation is going to take a lot of time and effort. But don’t give up on your child. They need you and your affection. Although the thought of slogging through the process can be intimidating, just know that every step you take is a step that you’re taking for the safety and well-being of your child. That’s why now is the time to start taking the action necessary to protect your child and your relationship with them.