If you are like most men, you strive to be the best dad you can be. This is especially important when going through a divorce. Even when it is in the best interest of the entire family, divorce has a significant emotional effect on you, as well as your kids.
If your best efforts are constantly thwarted by your former spouse, you may be a victim of parental alienation. Psychology Today explains this common family issue, so you can take the proper steps to overcome it and enjoy a healthy relationship with your kids.
What parental alienation looks like
The alienating parent may not even be aware of their actions, or the effect they are having on your child. However, they commonly exhibit certain characteristics and traits. Most marriages fail because of the actions of both spouses, but alienators often place all the blame on their ex. If your ex feels you are fully to blame for the demise of your marriage, she may look to punish you in the only way she can: by disrupting the relationship between you and your child.
Alienating parents often have deep emotional needs, and they look to their children to fulfill these needs. As a result, they will make negative statements about you as a person and parent to your child. They may also lie about situations to get the child on their side.
What you can do to make a bad situation better
Therapy is a key component of healing from parental alienation. Your child is bound to feel confused by what the alienating parent is saying about you, to the point where your child might believe them. This can be hard to reverse without the assistance of a trained counselor, who will use their knowledge of parental alienation to mend the relationship between you and your child.
If there are court orders in place stipulating terms for custody and visitation, your ex must abide them. When she does not, you can contact the court and make them aware of the situation. If there are no court orders, take note of the alienating behaviors and contact an attorney to develop a parenting plan that works for you.