In Family Courts, from Ontario County to Monroe County, parental alienation often casts a shadow on bitter custody disputes. Unfortunately, outside of the courtroom, parental alienation is an all too common occurrence in Upstate New York.
Parental alienation occurs when one parent repeatedly denigrates the other parent in an attempt to undermine and interfere with the child’s relationship with that parent. Often, this happens when a parent cannot separate from the conflict with the opposing spouse and focus on the needs of the child. The unfortunate result is the child’s emotional rejection of the targeted parent and the loss of a capable and loving parent from the child’s life. Indeed, a child’s view of the targeted parent will be almost exclusively negative to the point the parent is demonized and even perceived as evil.
Critically, parental alienation is more than just one incident or a poor way of communicating the ongoing conflict. Parental alienation involves a set of strategies which includes bad-mouthing the other parent, limiting contact with the other parent, eliminating the other parent from the life and mind of the child, rewarding the child for ignoring the opposing parent, and punishing the child for communicating with the other parent. Essentially, it puts a child in a position where he or she must love one parent and hate the other.
The direct result of parental alienation is a very negative impact on the child. Children often suffer fro low self-esteem and self-hatred, lack of trust, depression, and substance abuse and other forms of addiction are widespread, as children lose the capacity to give and accept love from a parent. Self-hatred is particularly disturbing among affected children, as children internalize the hatred targeted toward the alienated parent, are led to believe that the alienated parent did not love or want them, and experience severe guilt related to betraying the alienated parent. Their depression is rooted in feelings of being unloved by one of their parents, and from separation from that parent, while being denied the opportunity to mourn the loss of the parent or to even talk about them. Alienated children typically have conflicted or distant relationships with the alienating parent also, and are at high risk of becoming alienated from their own children.
If you feel as though you are being alienated from your child, it is vital that you speak with a New York State Attorney who can help shine a light on what is going on. Oftentimes, a parents engaging in parental alienation will attempt to hide their behaviors and emphasize that the child is simply making a choice. The falsity of these allegations must be shown with specific facts. If you do not currently have a custody order, it is vital that you file a petition in a New York State Family Court to make sure you are not deprived of your parental rights.