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What to do about parental alienation

For some Maryland divorcees, parental alienation may happen gradually. This is a process in which a child is manipulated by one parent to turn against the other. At the start, an ex may badmouth the targeted parent and come up with excuses to delay or cancel child visitation.

Later, that child might appropriate the ex’s negative language to denigrate the targeted parent. The child might also be suddenly combative and behave in an entitled way regarding gifts. However, the child will often say that these behavioral changes have nothing to do with the other parent and originate with the child.

The targeted parent might be removed from various contact lists and no longer be asked to attend school meetings. Furthermore, the child could ask the parent to stop attending extracurricular activities such as sports events.

Parental alienation is more likely to happen when a parent has been diagnosed with narcissistic or borderline personality disorder. In cases when an ex has a personality condition, parents may want to be particularly vigilant. They should not allow the behavior of their children or the other parent to provoke them. Instead, they should respond by setting firm boundaries in a loving manner. If things get serious, parents may want to consult a professional.

Parental alienation is only one type of problem that could effect agreements regarding child custody and visitation. For example, one parent may have issues with substance abuse. If the other parent feels that the child’s well-being is at stake, they might want to collect evidence to present to the judge. In such cases, it is generally best to consult with a family law attorney.