It’s easy to look up Parental Alienation to get acquainted with Parental Alienation Syndrome and the damage it causes. A google search of Parental Alienation yields a fortune of information including a wikipedia entry about Parental Alienation, an article titled “Eight Symptoms of Parental Alienation” and another titled, “Parents Who Have Fought Parental Alienation.” Most of these seem geared toward identifying whether and how the reader and family are victims of Parental Alienation Syndrom.
The articles detail the crippling impact parental alienation has on children, how catching and stopping alienating behaviors early should reduce negative impact. Therapy may also be indicated. Children are resilient, but interfering with the bond between parent and child can exact a terrible toll.
Harder to find, and much harder to take in, is information that helps the reader reflect upon whether or not they engage in alienating behavior toward the other parent. Parents who love their children may have to come to terms with the reality that sometimes anger wants to sneak out. It’s not always easy to be self reflective, so it can be helpful to have a tool available to turn the magnifying glass towards oneself. Such an aid assists parents in their efforts to protect the kids from having to choose sides, feel disconnected from one of their parents, or carry the burden of adult conflicts.
A list of questions available to read at all time is one such tool, and has proven to be very effective. Here is a very brief list of eight questions one can reflect upon. Still, there are more questions to consider and the more vigilant we are with our own behavior the better off our children are.
1. Do I talk about child support, money, or legal issues in front of my child?
2. Do I pump my child to get detailed information of where they go and what they do when they are with the other parent?
3. Do I use my child as a therapist or my special friend to share my deep and upsetting emotions?
4. Do I stop my child from expressing his/her feelings whether I agree with them or not? (e.g., love, happiness, excitement, anger, fear, sadness)
5. Do I criticize or speak negatively about the other parent or his/her family or friends in front of my child or where the child can hear me?
6. Do I encourage my child to blame the other parent or to choose sides?
7. Do I let my child know that I feel badly when he/she has a good time with the other parent?
8. Do I ever instill guilt, pressure, or rejection of the other parent in my child?
Most parents “slip up” once in a while, however it is in the best interest child of the children to keep them out of the middle and allow them to love both parents.