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Parental alienation after a divorce

Perhaps one of the most stressful aspects of divorce or separation is the arriving at an agreement about the support and custody of the estranged couple's children. This stress can be enhanced when one or more of the children begin to view one of the parents as the wrongdoer. Massachusetts social workers have observed and studies have supported two different types of parental alienation. The first is when the child's negative views of one parent are supported and encouraged by the other parent. The second is when the child begins to alienate from a parent without being provoked to demonstrate such behavior.

The behavior of a child who is alienating a divorced parent have been observed in schools, the home, court and other situations. The behavior may include a demonstration of overwhelming hatred toward the parent. The child may justify this hateful behavior on frivolous, unwarranted observations or feelings. The child will often not show any remorse or regret about the treatment of the parent he or she is seeking to alienate.

Conversely, the child may demonstrate irrational support for the other parent, with an attitude that the unalienated parent can do no wrong. The child may not only reject the parent, but may also seek to alienate other family members of that parent. A child who is being encouraged by one parent to alienate the other will sometimes use vocabulary that they do not even understand and just mimic the words of the parent he or she supports.

When a parent is making his or her way through the emotional and legal aspects of a child custody dispute, parent alienation by a child may need to be resolved. A team composed of a social worker and an attorney may be helpful to a parent facing this situation.

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Salem, MA 01970

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