Reclaim Your Place In Your Child’s Life: Fight Parental Alienation [Five Simple Ways To Be The Parent Your Child Would Love To Call His Parent]

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Some parents have to deal with a difficult decision in their lives. They have to leave their children to the other parent or other relatives. It can to divorce, financial reasons where a parent has to work someplace else, or some personal reason.

 

The absence of a parent can make the child’s feelings and emotions vulnerable. Edward Kruk, PhD, explained, “Fatherless children have more difficulties with social adjustment, and are more likely to report problems with friendships, and manifest behavior problems; many develop a swaggering, intimidating persona in an attempt to disguise their underlying fears, resentments, anxieties and unhappiness.”

 

It is vital that they are not left with people who have ill-feelings toward the parent. If this happens, they can manipulate the child to hate or have a negative thought about the parent.

 

If you have experienced or are experiencing parental alienation, there are simple ways you can do to reclaim your place in your child’s life.

 

Make Time

 

David J. Palmiter Jr., PhD, noted that the time parents set aside for their children only comes after all of life’s other obligations. He said, “We often treat our relationships—which are like orchids—like a cactus, and then when inevitably the orchid wilts or has problems, we tend to think that there’s something wrong with the orchid.”

 

Time is a crucial factor in every relationship. We need time to cultivate trust and love, just like growing a flower. You need to devote your time and effort to see it bloom beautifully. Set a date and time every week. Pick an activity that your kid loves, like watching a movie, watching a football game, or anything that would bring happiness to him.

 

Set Distance

 

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Some children, especially teens, may enjoy more time with friends. Adolescence

 

Respect Privacy

 

We all need privacy, and it’s one thing you need to give your child. “Establishing these personal spaces means setting up boundaries which other people may not cross without permission. Since that includes parents, negotiating those boundaries is a major challenge in the parent-child relationship,” wrote Romeo Vitelli, PhD.

 

It is a way of showing your trust. If you are troubled by something like cigarette smoke in his clothes, it is better to address him directly instead of talking to his guardian or other people close to him. Give him the authority to defend and stand up for himself.

 

Inquire Opinion

 

Ask for your child’s opinion whenever you have to make significant decisions in life. Make him feel that his thoughts and feelings do matter. Support his dreams and interests and never impose on something you want if it’s not what they want. Be a supportive parent, but be sure to help them distinguish right from wrong.

 

Promote Positivity

 

Be a good role model. Show your child that you deserve to be his parent. Be someone you would want him to be. You should be a positive influence that inspires him, not a shadow that will terrorize him. Be yourself but better. Make an effort to make your child want to spend time with you. Never give him any reason to avoid you.

 

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Reclaiming your role as a parent is challenging when there’s parental alienation. Children’s minds are fragile. They develop and build their foundation based on the thoughts they are fed with, but you could always prove them wrong, especially if the people who want to turn him against you are just doing it to despise you.

 

It is a battle not only for yourself, but think of it as saving your child from being drowned in an environment that compromises his potential for goodness. Be the best parent and redeem your place. Cultivate love but always demand respect.

 

Addressing The Effects Of Parental Alienation

Parental alienation is a looming concern not only for families separated because of having divorced parents. It can also occur in families that are still intact. It usually entails one parent suffering from psychological issues that are passed on to the child. It is sinister because one has to take a closer look at the child to recognize its symptoms.

 

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Continue reading “Addressing The Effects Of Parental Alienation”

A Confession Of A Parental Alienator

 

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I was on the verge of separation from my ex-husband when I tried convincing my child to choose me over his dad. It was a toxic situation where I forced my kid to make some automatic adjustments. The process involves a complex mental manipulation that destroyed my son’s emotional well-being. He was unaware of what he was doing and subconsciously lashing out his connection with his father.

This is called parental alienation. Stanton E. Samenow, PhD, explained, “The alienating parent deploys a variety of tactics to gain control over the child. Consequently, the child experiences distress from being in the middle of his parents’ warfare.

 

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How I Apply Parental Alienation

The process of getting my child’s custody was complicated, and I honestly admit that it was emotional abuse. His relationship with his dad was basically from what I told him. I tried brainwashing him about the stress and depression that his father had given me and it seemed to work faultlessly. I detailed out reasons for our separation and informed him about the negative consequences that can occur in our marriage. I even made false allegations of drug and alcohol abuse, sexual and verbal abuse as well as physical and mental abuse. I acted hurt and betrayed every time my son wanted to make a positive move towards his dad. I even told my son that our family got ruined because his dad doesn’t show effort in keeping us together and asked him to lie about his personal life. Because of all that, he lost the sense of interest towards his dad and blamed everything on his father’s unclear behavior. I was unaware of what I was doing at first, and I thought that seeking attention from my son was only part of relieving my stress from the failure of my marriage, but the results were in my favor, so I continued to manipulate him to turn against his dad maliciously.

 

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How It Affected My Child

According to Susan Heitler, PhD, “Severely alienated children have little if anything positive to say about the targeted parent and often rewrite the history of their relationship with the targeted parent.” The consequences of parental alienation occurred when a change of behavior happened to my child.

He became hateful when he used to be a loving person. His perception of positive bonding experiences distorted into blame, uncontrolled anger, and arrogance. He developed a sense of entitlement and disrespected elders, (especially his dad.) Though it was already part of what I wanted, I eventually felt guilty for feeding him damaging information that made him hostile and irrational. He then experienced poor eating habits and started to lose weight. Because of the negative ideas that I implanted on his thoughts, he developed social identity problems and poor decision-making functions and lost the ability to think logically. He used technology as a means of escape and diminished his attention span. He became lonely as he isolated himself from his friends and family.

The effect of parental alienation on my child was lethal. His anxiety and depression have become worst, and I lost a sense of control over his pure nature. “We bring children into this world and owe them innocence, for as long as we can,” wrote Mark Banschick, MD. “They need not worry about adult matters. They deserve their childhood. On Divorce Island that innocence is threatened constantly, but it can be maintained.”

I was too focused on the attention that I have, so I ignored the signs of his sufferings. Unfortunately, it was too late to realize that hatred doesn’t come naturally to any child because it comes from teaching. I intentionally endangered my son’s emotional and mental health just because I was selfish enough to understand his needs.

Disproving The 4 Myths About Parental Alienation

What is a myth? The dictionary defines the word as a false idea or belief widely held by a large number of people. According to A.J. Marsden, Ph.D., and William Nesbitt, Ph.D., “The word myth comes from mythos, which means “story.” However, “story” doesn’t necessarily mean made up or fictitious.” Simply put, it’s a wrong concept held as facts by many. In this light, this article aims to educate by disproving the four common myths most people believe about parental alienation.

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Continue reading “Disproving The 4 Myths About Parental Alienation”

Surviving Abduction, Parental Alienation, And Emotional Abuse

 

Natascha Kampusch’s Story

Here is another story of one abduction and an emotional abuse victim who, until now, is surviving and trying to get through the hurdles her experience is causing her through the help of counseling. While happy-ever-afters aren’t possible in real life, this is a story of hope and survival and a spirit who refuses to be defeated by a nightmare.

 

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Continue reading “Surviving Abduction, Parental Alienation, And Emotional Abuse”

5 Ways To Overcome Parental Alienation According To A Psychologist

Parental alienation is the process of turning a child against a parent through manipulation. Rightfully, psychologists are calling it “divorce poison.” It can potentially cause long-term effects on the child, the rejected family member, and their relationship with one another. It can cause the two to be estranged and put them at risk of developing a mental disorder.

Thankfully, there is still hope for those who experience parental alienation. There are specific measures you can take to reconnect with your child. Here are five things you can try.

Sort Things Out With The Other Parent


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Before anything else, you might want to try sorting things out with the other parent. Sometimes, people don’t realize that specific actions of theirs contribute to alienation. Although you may have separated, it’s in everyone’s best interest to keep things civil between you two. Bring up the problem with them and see if there’s something you can work out together so that you don’t become estranged from your kids. “Parenting in a divorce situation is hard enough without all of the drama that comes with parental alienation. Keep the drama in your household to a minimum so your child can rest, heal, and recoup before they return to the hostile environment,” Christine Hammond, MS, LMHC advised.

Encourage Direct Communication

It’s likely that the reason your child is losing warmth towards you is that the alienating parent is feeding them twisted information about you. This manipulation causes them to see you differently and believe in an inaccurate image of you. They could convince your kids to think that you don’t love them anymore; the separation was their fault or other similar lies.

To avoid having this problem, ask your child to talk to you directly about any questions or concerns they may have. This way, you can address any incorrect ideas they may have about you tactfully. Always correct any inaccurate information they may have so that the problem doesn’t grow into something bigger and harder to manage. Encouraging direct communication also helps them develop critical-thinking skills, as they have to discern who to believe and what the truth is. Talking to one another also allows you to give your side of the story. “When the proposed interaction is properly managed, and not allowed to escalate into insults or argument — then contact between opposing parties should reduce tension,” Molly S. Castelloe Ph.D. furthers.

Show Them The Same Love You Did Before


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If things were going well between you and your child before alienation took place, remind them of how things were before. Be mindful of showing them the same love and concern you’ve always had for them. If there were activities you enjoyed that you did often, continue doing those. Having weekly picnics, watching baseball games together, or going to their school play will show them that you’re still present.

Get them to remember how well you connected before the separation happened. This way, they can see that you’re still the same parent that they loved in the past. Chances are, they’ll think twice when the alienating parent paints you in a negative light.

Practice Self-Care And Self-Love

Trying to reconnect with your child is a very trying time.  During this period, it’s crucial that you also take care of yourself. Self-blame and self-hatred are easy traps to fall into. However, remember not to be so hard on yourself. This problem is not your fault as the targeted parent. Be strong and don’t let the alienating parent make you believe that you are not worthy of your children’s time and affection. Your self-esteem and confidence in yourself will serve as a strong foundation. If you don’t believe that you are a good parent, neither will your child.

Similarly, your emotional stability can also affect how you reconnect with your kids. If you’re are all over the place, they may not want to be around you. Being emotionally unstable or unavailable during this time will have lasting consequences. For instance, it’ll be much easier for the alienating parent to convince your child that you’re someone to be feared if you’re angry all the time. Don’t give them more reasons to distrust you.

Give It Time But Keep Reaching Out


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Even if your child may not take to maintaining a relationship with you, don’t lose hope. It can take some time before you sort out your issues and overcome the manipulation that they went through. You’ll have to be patient and understanding of your kids.

And while you want to give it time, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be around. If your kids show that they don’t want you around, allow them space but don’t alienate yourself either. Show up on significant occasions—birthdays, graduation, and other events. Your presence will show them that they’re important enough for you to want to remain in their life.

Summary
The primary way to battle parental alienation is through genuine love and concern for your child. Don’t fight hate with more negativity. Try to work things out with the alienating parent first. If that doesn’t work, focus on your relationship with your kids. Be present, provide guidance and love. We hope that your kids grow up to be smart adults who know that you want to be in their lives. “If you find yourself in this situation, it’s important to seek counseling for your individual circumstances with a qualified mental health professional.” Timothy J. Legg, PhD, PsyD notes.

Children’s Mental Health Struggle From Parental Alienation

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Being a mother to my three kids, I always knew that life would become so hard from the moment I got divorced. I can’t measure how unlucky I felt my marriage was. My husband cheated with another girl, and our relationship is all about lies, arguments, and betrayal. However, the things that kept me looking forward are my boys. I love them so much that I don’t want them to suffer. As much as possible, I tried to secure their emotional and mental health regardless of our failed relationship. But with all the effort of keeping them away from emotional and psychological damage, I made a mistake. Continue reading “Children’s Mental Health Struggle From Parental Alienation”

How Parental Alienation Impacts A Parent’s Mental Health

 

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The focus of this article is the alienated or the targeted parent. Before further discussion, let us first define parental alienation. It is a term used to refer to a method or process of undermining the other parent by programming a child to hate the other parent. The primary goal of the alienated parent here is to destroy the alienated. The process usually occurs in conjunction with a child custody case. This involves legally abusing the other parent who has been marginalized and subsequently damaging her physical, emotional, and mental health. The alienating parent continues to marginalize the other parent after the sole custody case and the primary residence decisions of the court.

Stanton E Samenow, PhD, wrote, “The alienating parent despises the other parent so intensely that he considers this individual toxic to the child and of little value overall. The alienating parent may coach his son or daughter so that the child feels disloyal even to have a positive thought about the other parent.”

What happens eventually is that the non-custodial parent is most often subjected to stigma, frustration, shame, and devaluation. The non-custodial parent, as proven by research, is usually the father, which is why it is advisable for them to find ways and means to engage in productive activities to get rid of the negative emotions. Most of them are hesitant to seek professional help, and they are resistant to counseling and guidance. But those who are highly involved with their kids and then suddenly removed from their children’s lives may develop fear, lies, and depression.

“Targeted parents may present as anxious, depressed, and angry. At the same time, beneath these desperate situational reactions generally lies psychological health,” noted Susan Heitler,  PhD.

The alienating parent, on the other hand, usually utilizes various tools such as flattery and contentment with material desires to win his/her child back. He wants so much to control his child, and his desire to do so is extremely powerful. Alienating parents are also emotionally sensitive and broken, and they feel a sense of entitlement, feeling like they know how to take whatever their child faces continuously. Some experts recommend removing child custody from the alienating parent and instead placing them under the care of the alienated parent, but this might be difficult to decide who is alienating and who is not. Additionally, Family Law judges are not well trained to delve deeper into family dynamics and child development.

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Alienated parents are some of the saddest victims of parental alienation, as they can’t do anything unless they are given the opportunity to explain things to their children, which is not very easy since the children have a tendency not to listen. They have been previously ‘brainwashed’ by the other parent that their dad or mom is the cause of the divorce and listening to them would only make things worse. Alienating parents often win their custody case by destroying the other parent, which push him to engage in alienating behaviors. The target parent can only pray that the judge will go for co-parenting or a case of family violence due to the evidence of alienating behaviors, for him to be able to combat parental alienation. This also ultimately protects the well-being of the children.

Help For The Alienated Parent

Coping for the alienated parent will be difficult, sad, and devastating. You must keep your sanity intact for the sake of your children whom you love so much. Your mental health is as important as your life, and you must remember to move past the hurt and anger. Learn how to shift your negativity into positivity by changing your outlook on things.

On the other hand, you should also keep in mind that it is not your alienated child’s fault that you are in such a sad place now. Continue to love your child unconditionally and let her know that you don’t blame her. Hopefully, she will see your sincerity and will have the strength and realization that you are not her enemy.

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Seek professional help, like talk therapy or cognitive behavioral therapy. Confide to a friend to release the unpleasant emotions. Cry if you must. It’s good medicine. Cognitive therapy also helps you restructure your way of thinking, and you are taught to say something good to yourself every day. It changes a negative thought into a positive one. Something like this: From this, “My daughter hates me, and she will never want to see me ever,” to this, “My daughter does love me and misses me, but right now she thinks she is doing the right thing and it’s painful for her as it is for me.”

Finally, be in the know. Understanding parental alienation will provide an emotional base that will help you make better decisions for you and your child.

Edward Kruk, PhD, wrote, “The only effective means to combat and eliminate parental alienation is to address it by means of a multi-faceted approach that involves fundamental changes to the present system of divorce, and alienated parents and their allies would be well-advised to channel their energies in this direction.”

 

Family Therapy

The Basics Of Family Therapy

 Counseling improves day-to-day life.

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It discusses how family therapy helps dysfunctional family members and the overall benefits of getting into family therapy.

Household counseling maybe your best solution when your brood is going through a rough time.

Psychologists attribute a person’s behaviors and attitudes to how they are brought up. People who have psychological problems tend to manifest because of childhood trauma such as pancreatectomy or parental alienation.

Therapy For Families

Several ways exist for doing family therapy: some do family therapy online, and some opt for face-to-face sessions. No matter what avenue you choose,  it’s most important that you go and take this step.

Individual Vs. Family Therapy

Family therapy experts emphasize that individual therapy is very different from family therapy. In individual therapy, the individual is the client; in family therapy, the family is the client.

Individual counseling mainly consists of insight counseling wherein the mental health professional will engage patients to talk about life experiences and difficulties.

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Individual counseling Vs. Group Counseling

Individual therapy focuses on how a person can cope with his existing conditions and improve his day-to-day life. Individual therapy mainly consists of talk therapy wherein the mental health professional will engage patients to talk about their life experiences and difficulties. The professional would also recommend specific courses of action.

If necessary, your specialist will also prescribe certain medications to cope with anxiety or insomnia.

On the other hand, families who have been through long periods of emotional distress due to dysfunctional members, financial problems, or sudden deaths may opt to go through family therapy. Judye Hess, Ph.D. says that “group therapy can be more powerful and mutative than individual therapy.” Family therapy involves improving family dynamics and emotional conditions through the use of psychotherapy. The expert usually goes for a more encompassing approach compared to individual ones. They dig deep to uncover a family’s underlying causes for dysfunctionality.

But why choose family therapy?

“Family therapy says there are a number of people who are impacted by a problem, so everyone should work together and support the individual who has the problem,” explains Anthony Siracusa, Ph.D. Each has its idiosyncrasies and approaches to certain things.

Thus, a cookie-cutter approach doesn’t apply to household counseling.

Benefits Of Family Therapy

You already know the key differences between individual therapy and family therapy.  But what will convince you to try family therapy? Here are several of the key benefits of family therapy that your family will enjoy.

1. Build Better Lines Of Communication

Several families have trouble keeping their communication lines open. In this fast-paced world, it’s easier to text someone next door than talk to your father downstairs. Family dinners are becoming less frequent, with more spaces in between, as compared to about 30 years ago, when cellphones were not yet generally circulating in public. Building lines of communication take work. Sadly, a lot of families don’t put in much effort anymore. However, the bright side is that through emotion-focused family therapy, the professional expert will walk you through the process of building better communication between and among family members.

2. Create a Better Understanding Of Each Family Member

fun times after a family therapy session

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When you are born into a specific family system, you tend to grow up assuming that everything in the world works that way. However, as you grow older, you learn that that is not the case: every unit has its system and each member has a different role. That role may have not been communicated well to other members of the unit. Other members may have unmet expectations regarding other members that could cause tension inside the family. For example, a child may have been building resentment towards a parent for failure to meet their expectations. The therapists could act as a mediator during family therapy sessions.

3. Cope With Specific Issues Inside Lineage

At times, there may be issues specific to the family that has remained shoved under the bed for years. If left unresolved, these issues may have resulted in unnecessary tension between members. These issues can be very varied. It can include substance abuse, anger management issues, or self-harm. What experts do at this point is to help the individual first cope with issues. Then, comes the circle. The family members should be able to act in concert to help that particular member.

In correcting bad habits, the members should be a person’s first line of support.

Lynn Ponton, MD points out, “Family therapy also helps create a sense of teamwork and reduce the sense of “it’s the child’s problem, not mine.”

Best Option For households in Deep Emotional Turmoil

Family therapy can be the best option for families in deep emotional turmoil. These troubled families may have long neglected their problems, to the detriment of their psychological health. When children are brought up in a problematic family, they tend to grow up as troubled and distressed adults. To break this cycle, family therapy can help families cope with issues, help them understand their roles, and establish better lines of communication.