Last Updated on April 14, 2022 by Benson Varghese
In contentious child custody disputes, it’s not uncommon for one parent to try and turn their child against the other. It’s called parental alienation and, unfortunately, it’s a phenomenon we see far too often in the family law arena.
In this article, we will discuss parental alienation in Texas and explain why this type of behavior is damaging to the child and can cause long-term emotional damage.
What is parental alienation in Texas?
Parental alienation, or Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS), occurs when a parent intentionally pits the child against the other parent in an attempt to cause discord or distance in their relationship. The parent does this through a series of strategies, such as brainwashing, manipulation, isolation, or false accusations, to foster a child’s rejection of the other parent. The child, in turn, aligns with the alienating parent and may even show hostility or hatred toward the targeted parent.
Why would a parent alienate a child from the other parent?
Parental alienation in Texas often stems from a bitter divorce or child custody dispute and is motivated by anger, revenge, betrayal or rejection.
What are some examples of parental alienation in Texas?
There are numerous ways or strategies in which a parent engages in parental alienation in Texas. Common examples include:
* Badmouthing the other parent, including calling him or her derogatory names.
* Blaming the other parent for the divorce and giving specific reasons for the breakdown in the marriage, such as financial problems or infidelity.
* Involving the child in legal proceedings by talking to them about child support or allowing them to read court documents or attend lawyer meetings.
* Persuading the child to refuse visitation.
* Interfering with visitation by scheduling an activity that the child wants to do; therefore, making the other parent look “bad” for not allowing the child to go to the fun activity.
* Buying the child’s favor by spoiling them with gifts or giving them more “freedom” by allowing them to do things they can’t do at the other parent’s house, like stay up late or eat candy.
* Acting hurt or sad when the child has a good time visiting the other parent.
* Refusing to allow the other parent access to the child’s school report card or schedule of extracurricular activities.
* Refusing to allow pictures or gifts from the other parent in the home.
* Telling the child the other parent is dangerous or mentally unstable.
* Refusing to allow the child to visit with the extended family members on the other side of the family.
* Lying to the child about the other parent’s communication efforts. For example, telling the child the other parent hasn’t tried to contact them.
* Creating the impression that the other parent doesn’t care about the child.
Is parental alienation harmful to a child?
Absolutely. Parental alienation can have a devastating effect on the child. It can cause confusion, anxiety, lack of trust, depression, and self-hatred. These negative emotions are a result of a child growing up distrusting or disliking their other parent because they wrongly believed they were unfit, unloving or uncaring.
It’s important to remember that parental alienation in Texas is a form of psychological abuse and should be taken seriously. It’s always best to keep children out of adult disputes, as they may erroneously believe that they are somehow responsible for the parental conflict or discord.
If you suspect parental alienation is occurring in your child’s life, it’s important to seek professional help. A therapist can provide support and guidance to both the parent and child as they work through this difficult time. If you’re a parent going through a divorce or child custody battle, it’s also important to have a supportive team of professionals, including an aggressive, yet compassionate, family law attorney.
What are signs that your child is suffering from parental alienation syndrome?
There are several signs that may indicate your child is suffering from parental alienation syndrome. These include:
* Your child expresses anger, hatred, or hostility toward you, especially in front of the other parent.
* Your child refuses to spend time with you or tells you they don’t want to see you.
* Your child destroys gifts or other items you gave them.
* Your child talks about the other parent as if they are always correct and always agrees with them.
* Your child is negative toward your extended family.
* Your child starts to withdraw from friends and activities they used to enjoy.
* Your child shows a sudden change in behavior, such as becoming sullen or rebellious.
* Your child begins to have problems in school, such as declining grades or acting out in class.
* Your child demonstrates a sudden change in appearance, such as dressing differently or neglecting personal hygiene.
* Your child denies that they are being influenced by the other parent to treat you negatively.
If you suspect your child is suffering from parental alienation syndrome, it is important to seek professional help right away. Parental alienation in Texas can have a lasting effect on your child and it is important to get help before the situation worsens.
Is your ex engaging in parental alienation? Seek legal help.
If your ex is engaging in parental alienation, it’s important to speak with an experienced Fort Worth family law attorney as soon as possible. We can help. Our team will help you understand your legal options and what steps to take to protect your relationship with your child. We’re happy to take on parents who attempt to use their children as pawns in a divorce or child custody disputes. Call 817-900-3220 today to schedule a consultation.
Varghese Summersett is a premier criminal defense firm based in Fort Worth, Texas. Our attorneys focus exclusively on criminal law and represent clients charged with crimes at both the state and federal level. We handle everything from DWI to capital murder to white collar crime. Collectively, our attorneys bring together more than 100 years of criminal law experience and have tried more than 550 cases before Texas juries. All of our senior attorneys served as former state or federal prosecutors and four are Board Certified in Criminal law, the highest designation an attorney can reach. We are the firm people turn to when the stakes are high and they are facing the biggest problem in their lives.