Parental Alienation Occurs with Different Levels of Severity

The first core element of parental alienation is whether one parent has engaged in any action that fosters a belief by the child that the other parent is “unsafe, unloving, or unavailable.” Check out the 10 Red Flags Used by a Parent to turn a Child Against the Other Parent to see if any of these behaviors are happening in your family.

Alienation can begin with something as simple as badmouthing the other parent in front of a child. In the heat of anger during a divorce, for example, many parents may not realize the damage being caused to their children. It is the hope of those concerned about PA that when most parents learn of the harm this kind of behavior causes, they will cease doing it. By becoming aware, you are taking the first step toward prevention.

Parental alienation occurs at different levels: Mild, Moderate and Severe.

Non-Alienating Behavior

  1. Never ask child(ren) to provide information about what is going on in their other parent’s household.
  2. Never bad-mouth the other parent.
  3. Always encourage their child(ren) to love and respect the other parent.
  4. Never argue with the other parent in front of the child(ren).
  5. Be on time for custody exchanges; respect the other parent’s parenting time.

Mild Alienation

  1. Occasionally bad-mouth the other parent to your child in subtle ways, or within their hearing when having conversations with others.
  2. Seldom or never saying anything positive about the other parent to your child(ren).

Moderate Alienation

  1. Show anger when your child(ren) hear you badmouthing their other parent.
  2. Expect your child(ren) to take sides with you against their other parent.
  3. At times refuse visitation or interfere with virtual contact between your child(ren) and their other parent.
  4. Convey to your child(ren) that you prefer they not have a relationship with their other parent.

Severe Alienation

  1. Mission is to destroy the relationship of the child with the other parent.
  2. The child is used as a weapon of revenge.
  3. The child is used as a tool to make the alienator emotionally complete.

Alienators who submit their family to severe alienation usually have a diagnosable personality disorder, although it may not be readily apparent. They act out of a psychic wound. It is essential to have highly trained and experienced experts make an accurate diagnosis to assure that appropriate assessment and treatment occur. Personality disorders most commonly associated with parental alienation are Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) or Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD).

Parental Alienation occurs when one parent turns a child against the other (healthy) parent through emotional manipulation.

Parental Alienation is not to be confused with estrangement, which is a valid withdrawal by a child from a parent due to mistreatment or mental health issues.

It is a largely overlooked form of emotional child and spouse abuse.