Parent Alienation – What is it?

Whilst the act of parent alienation is recognised in Family Courts, by social workers and those working closely with children, there is no single definition to explain “parent alienation”.

However, it is now identified by Cafcass (who are the Courts appointed social workers) as “when a child’s resistance or hostility towards one parent is not justified and is the result of psychological manipulation by the other parent”.  In simple terms this is when a parent is manipulating a child and a result of that manipulation, the child no longer wishes to see the other parent. This often arises following a separation between the parents and can have negative long-term effect on the child’s emotional development and future relationships.

It is a child’s right to have a loving relationship with both parents. To be denied this right by one parent, without a good reason, is psychological abuse.

There can of course be many reasons for why your child is refusing to have contact with you and therefore, it does not automatically mean that you are being “alienated”. It can simply be that your child needs some space to adjust to your recent separation. That said, each case must be assessed on its facts. If you are concerned that you are being “alienated”, the following indicators may be helpful to identify the same:

  • Your relationship with your child has suddenly deteriorated.
  • Your child no longer wishes to see you or speak to you.
  • You are aware that your ex is repeatedly belittling or denigrating you in front of your child.
  • You are aware that your ex is preventing your child from having contact with you.
  • You are aware that your ex is telling your child that you do not love them.
  • You find out that your child is no longer allowed to speak about you in front of your ex.

The above is not a complete list. The Courts recognise that “parent alienation” exists and widely encourage parents to take action as soon as possible so it can be addressed before any significant harm comes to the child. If you are unsure if you are being “alienated” or would like to discuss any of the above issues in more detail then please feel free to contact us on 01245 504904 to book an appointment.

Charlotte is an experienced Chartered Legal Executive in the Family Team at Leonard Gray and deals with divorces, dissolutions, financial matters, co-habitation disputes, pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements, domestic abuse matters and matters pertaining to children.