If you suspect that your co-parent is alienating your child or children from you, you are in a difficult and heart-breaking situation. It is wise to carefully consider the continuum of parent-child contacts problems, to honestly assess what your contributions to the resist/refuse dynamics might be. Sometimes there are behaviors of the “out” parent that justify a good portion of a child’s resistance to parenting time with the “out” parent. If this is the case, working with a parent coach or individual therapist is an excellent step to take. For example, some “out” parents don’t hold back in their criticism of their co-parent, even in front of the child. This will do even further damage to the relationship with your child, and is a behavior that will deepen that child’s resistance to seeing you.
If you can look objectively at your child’s behaviors and you see several of the indicators of alienation, then it is time to take action. Time is of the essence in dealing with these situations. In cases of true alienation, there are two critical pieces: 1) The involvement of a therapist or team of therapists who are highly trained in dealing with these dynamics (often through “reunification therapy” or what we are now calling Parent-Child Relationship Repair services) and 2) the involvement of the court. Without the leverage of a court order or a parenting consultant, it is extremely difficult to engage the “in” parent in addressing the resist-refuse dynamics that are occurring.
To learn more about how I might be able to help address suspected parental alienating behaviors, contact my office at 651-882-6234. To learn more about these dynamics, here are several helpful blogs and articles.