After the end of your romantic relationship, the only thing connecting you to the other person may be the children that you share. Co-parenting is a lifelong commitment that requires frequent interactions between the two of you.
Thankfully, many parents are able to keep the focus on their children and learn how to cooperate with one another even after a very tense divorce. Sadly, there are always a few people who refuse to make the children the priority and who let their own feelings dictate how they behave during a divorce or in a co-parenting arrangement.
Some people will use their children as a weapon and attempt to hurt the other parent. Parental alienation is the technical term for when one parent attempts to interfere in the relationship that the other has with the children. What are the most important warning signs of parental alienation?
An unwarranted reduction in parenting time
The most obvious sign of attempted parental alienation will be interference in your time with the children. While you may have a custody order giving you equal parenting time or setting a schedule for shared custody, the other parent consistently finds reasons to cancel or reduce your parenting time.
They may give you very little notice, and they may also refuse to grant you make-up time with the children. When the other parent is the one canceling the time with the children, they should give you an opportunity to reschedule. Consistently preventing you from seeing the children is a glaring example of parental alienation in action.
A change in the children’s perception of you
Parental alienation often involves a lot of negative talk in addition to reduced parenting time. If your children have become hostile toward you, seemingly without any precipitating events or if they accuse you of destroying the family, you may be facing parental alienation.
Although the other parent should try to support your relationship with the children, they may let their own anger about your relationship spill out and lead to them talking slowly about you in front of the children. Such inappropriate communication with the children can damage their perception of you and also can cause psychological harm for the kids.
You need to recognize the signs of parental alienation and then start documenting it as it occurs if you hope to protect your relationship with your children despite the unreasonable interference of the other parent. Speaking up to assert your rights in a shared custody arrangement will be crucial to preserving your relationship with your children.