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Parental alienation: Avoiding it post-divorce

It’s clearly normal and natural for children to mature and evolve and become adults. As adults, they make their own decisions in life, and begin families of their own. This separation of parents and children is a healthy development, and is a sign of emotional growth among offspring. However, there is a different kind of child-parent separation that can happen much earlier, and is often a byproduct of divorce: parental alienation.

This is when a parent engages in hurtful behavior — often in an attempt to punish their ex-spouse — that denies their child access to the ex-spouse. It can also occur when one divorced parent constantly speaks badly in front of their child of the other parent. Parental alienation is something virtually no parent wants and consciously seeks, but it can happen when divorcing parents pay too much attention to their own anger and hurt and too little to what is in the best interests of their child.

In a recent article, an author and divorce coach wrote for the Huffington Post that there are several behaviors that can over time trigger parental alienation. The behaviors include:

  • Threatening a cut-off: when a parent threatens to deny their ex access to the kids. It’s an abuse of power for a custodial parent to do this and it can backfire in a big way on the parent who engages in this type of manipulation.
  • Pawns: divorced parents often have to negotiate with each other over differences in what’s best for the kids. However, when one parent uses the kids as pawns in the negotiations (“You won’t see the kids for a month if you don’t agree to my terms!”), again, that parent can expect the tactic to backfire and cause alienation from their children who are hurt and confused by the cruel behavior.

As the author notes, children have a very difficult time picking sides when their parents fights. “Putting your kids in the midst of parental conflict is toxic and has proven to be one of the greatest causes of post-divorce family problems,” she writes.

When you face divorce, one of the greatest tools you’ll have at your disposal is an experienced Nevada attorney who has seen people make mistakes in this difficult process. An experienced Las Vegas family law attorney not only knows how to navigate the law and court system, but also to act always in the best interests of the children involved.

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