The bond between Detroit parents and their children is important. The last thing that many parents would expect to interfere with this relationship is the other parent. And yet, as discussed last week in this blog, it is not uncommon for another parent to interfere with the parent-child relationship in and after a divorce.

The process of undermining and interfering with the child’s relationship with a parent is known as parental alienation, and it can involve a wide range of behaviors. Some of the most serious examples of parental alienation can arise during a child custody dispute, as one parent may deliberately or unintentionally seek to have the child choose sides between the parents.

For example, the parent might tell the child disrespectful things about the other parent or try to erase the other parent from the child’s life. This creates an impression in the child that the other parent is bad, harmful or dangerous, which can affect the child’s affection toward that parent.

In severe cases, the parent may deliberately take action to interfere with the other parent’s visitation rights. For example, canceling parenting time visits or implanting thoughts in the child’s mind that make the child not want to engage with the other parent may interfere with the parent-child relationship.

Unfortunately, parental alienation is more common than some may think. It can also be highly damaging to the child. Accordingly, when parents are having their rights interfered with by the other parent, they should understand the harms of alienation, as well as the legal actions they can take to prevent and stop it. From having more stringent parenting time orders entered, to even changing custody, there may be many options available to get the parent-child relationship back on track and stop the interference from the other parent.

Source: Psychology Today, “The impact of parental alienation on children,” Edward Kruk, April 25, 2013