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The Impact Parental Alienation Has On Children

Written by: Belynder Walia, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 

Parental alienation is a form of emotional abuse. It occurs when one parent, who may be a narcissist or sociopath, makes sure and firmly convince the child or children in their care that the other parent is harmful, dangerous, and abusive.


The child can then no longer see things in any other way other than through the eyes of their alienating parent.


This type of manipulation is done mainly through forced isolation from the targeted parent, while the other makes false accusations and gaslights. The manipulation means to make the child feel that they cannot trust anything that comes from their non-alienating parent.

Parental alienation is a topic of hot debate in family court cases across the western world because it's becoming more and more prevalent, and many more parents are engaging in this practice during or after divorce proceedings.


The children affected by this practice suffer tremendously and risk experiencing the long-term effects into adulthood. If therapists who specialize in parental alienation recovery therapy do not adequately treat children before their teen years hit full swing, symptoms such as anxiety and depression can prolong.


Some examples of parental alienation and manipulation:

  • One parent has a substance misuse issue and blames the other parent for their addiction.

  • Accusations of cheating from one partner to the other can trigger an enactment of revenge by trying to keep them away from their kids.

  • A messy divorce could lead one parent to try to punish the other for leaving them first.

People do not realize that parental alienation can have some adverse effects on their child or children, causing their mental, emotional or physical development to suffer.


The detrimental effects of parental alienation on the child might present in the following ways:


1. Your Child May Develop Depression or Anxiety


Both the alienated parent and the separated child often experience depression and anxiety. The loss of a child's love, affection, and respect can devastate a parent's self-esteem and sense of purpose. Some parents may even feel guilty for losing their children's trust and love. It can also impact a child's mental health in the same way once the child realizes the extent of the manipulation.


2. Your Child May Become Suicidal


Some children who experience parental alienation are forced into a situation where they must choose between their parents, and this choice can put them at risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors. If you feel like your child is experiencing suicidal thoughts because of parental alienation, seek help immediately.


3. Your Child May Have Trouble Trusting Others


Children who are subject to manipulation may have trouble trusting others. This is because their parents have likely told them negative things about the other parent, which might erode their trust in them. If they previously had no reason to distrust the alienated parent, this could cause them to doubt their own judgment, making them more suspicious and less trusting of anyone outside their family unit.


For example, if one parent has told a child that their other parent is a liar, abusive or dangerous, it might be difficult for the child to interact with that parent when they meet them in person. On the other hand, if this happens often enough, the child might begin to believe it. I have come across a few cases where the child is groomed to lie. Even though they understood the lie, they did not want to displease the actual psychological and emotional abuser (the alienator) out of fear.


The fear of disappointing the abuser can cause a child to become overly clingy with the manipulator because manipulators use emotional blackmail, which the child may convince is justified due to the lack of trust in the other parent. Sadly, the child will often feel vulnerable if they don't have access to the other parent.


4. Your Child May Have Trouble in School or Social Settings


If you are the parent whose partner has alienated you from your child, the child may have trouble relating to peers, teachers, and other adults. This is because the child lacks trust that they're there for them. For instance, if you were alienated from your child when they were younger, they may not feel comfortable opening up to their teacher or other adults at school. If alienated while the child was still a baby or toddler, it's possible that the child could struggle with making friends later on in life. Again, I have witnessed this and understand the psychological impact this can have on a child's mental, emotional, social, and physical development.


5. Future Romantic Relationships are Negatively Impacted


In adolescence, teens begin to form romantic relationships and learn how to manage them. However, if they have been affected by parental alienation, they may have difficulty with this transition. They may struggle to have faith in others and might not want anyone else to get close because they don't want anyone to leave them in the same way that one of their parents left the other when they separated. This could lead to them pushing potential partners away before those relationships even begin.


Separation and alienation can be indirect in some relationships, such as when one partner puts the other down and doesn't realize they are doing it. This can have a significant impact on your child. It is painful for nearly all involved apart from the offender. Filling a child with lies and fuelling them with ideas about things to lie about is a form of abuse. Many more people should build their awareness around the topic because it is so common in many cultures across the globe, and people tend to overlook its impact on a child's mental health.


What are your thoughts on the subject of parental alienation? Do share with us via the below comment section!


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Belynder Walia, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Belynder Walia is a leading Psychotherapist, who helps people who need a swift, effective solution to a current problem that negatively impacts their lives. She's worked with a wide variety of people, from stay-at-home carers to experts and celebrities in the public eye. Having suffered from Perinatal Anxiety, she focuses on enabling others to learn, heal and grow from pain. Belynder is the founder of Serene Lifestyles, an online and on-set psychotherapy practice at www.serenelifestyles.com. Her ground-breaking methods include a combination of Psychotherapy and Neuroplasticity to help align the THREE Brains (the head, heart, and gut). She's in many publications, including Forbes, Cosmopolitan, Harpers Bazaar, The Moment, Planet Mindful, and Thrive Global. She’s featured on the front cover of Passion Vista as one of the women to look up to 2022. Belynder is also writing her first non-fiction book, to help people radically change their minds to change their lives.

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