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Child Custody & Parenting Plans

3 Verbal Tactics a Parent May Use to Alienate the Other Parent

When divorces turn ugly, parents may immediately begin to feel concern for their kids. You may have found yourself in this type of situation as you and your ex-spouse became increasingly unable to work together throughout the divorce process. Still, you came to custody terms that allowed you to maintain a relationship with your kids.

Over time, however, you may have noticed that your kids seemed colder to you than usual. You may not have made any major changes in the way you treat your children or the activities that you participate in while you are together, so you may wonder what prompted the change. Of course, because of your tumultuous relationship with your ex, you may worry that he or she has tried to poison the kids against you.

Common verbal tactics

Unfortunately, many parents may say certain phrases or make comments about the other parent in order to make the children think less of that parent. This type of action may constitute parental alienation. This purposeful act can damage the relationships between kids and a parent and is typically perpetrated by one of the parents. Some of the common verbal tactics a parent may use to turn children against another parent include the following:

  • Blaming you: Your ex may make comments that blame you for the divorce and ultimate family split. For instance, he or she may say that you wanted the divorce while the other parent wanted to keep the family together.
  • Using you as an insult: The possibility also exists that your ex could use phrases like "you are just like your mother/father" as an insult to the kids or when they carry out undesirable actions. This type of comment can make the children afraid of losing that parent's love and also possibly want to lessen the connection they have with you.
  • Insulting you in front of the kids: When divorce is messy, parents often have a sense of animosity toward each other. However, if your ex calls you names or otherwise trash talks about you to the kids, they may wonder whether they should hold the same views.

These tactics represent only a few that your ex could use to damage the relationship between you and the kids.

Addressing alienation

If you believe that your ex has been attempting to alienate you from your kids, you may have reason to revisit your custody arrangements. You do not have to stand by while your ex tries to poison the relationship you have with your kids. Speaking with your legal counsel can give you the opportunity to find the best way to handle the situation.