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Day 324 without the people I love most in the world!

So what are the risk factors to the children when one parent takes her or his grievencies out on the children by expressing those feelings about an ex-partner in front the children.  

During a separation or a divorce, there are a number of factors that can put you and your children at risk for parental alienation.  Early recognition of these factors is important so you can intervene and protect your relationship with your children.

  • Visits are withheld.

  • Children are frequently not returned on time (later than a half-hour).

  • A parent threatens to abduct the children.

  • Suggestions of sexual, physical, and/or mental abuse.

  • Alcohol or drug abuse.

  • A parent having a severe mental disorder.

  • A parent interferes with a reasonable number of phone calls.

  • Children begin refusing to visit.

This list is not intended to be a list of symptoms, these are risk factors that you should be aware of that can lead to alienation.   

Parental alienation varies in the degree of severity, as seen in the behaviors and attitudes of both the parents and the children. The severity can be of such little consequence as a parent occasionally calling the other parent a derogatory name; or it could be as overwhelming as the parent’s campaign of consciously destroying the children’s relationship with the other parent. Most children are able to brush off a parent’s off hand comment about the other parent that is made in frustration.
Steve Bradeley | Create Your Badge

On the other hand, children may not be able to resist a parent’s persistent campaign of hatred and alienation.Preventing or stopping alienation must begin with learning how to recognize the three types of alienators because the symptoms and strategies for combating each are different. Naive alienators are parents who are passive about the children’s relationship with the other parent but will occasionally do or say something to alienate. All parents will occasionally be naive alienators. Active alienators also know better than to alienate, but their intense hurt or anger causes them to impulsively lose control over their behavior or what they say. Later, they may feel very guilty about how they behaved. Obsessed alienators have a fervent cause, to destroy the targeted parent. Frequently a parent can be a blend between two types of alienators, usually a combination between the na•ve and active alienator. Rarely does the obsessed alienator have enough self-control or insight to blend with the other types.


  • Don’t give up on your children.

  • Keep your anger and hurt under control. Losing control only fuels the alienating parent.

  • Don’t retaliate.

  • With your attorney, be sure the court continues to support your parenting time. The only excuse for terminating parenting time is if there are allegations of abuse or threats to the children’s safety. If you are being falsely accused of abuse, cooperate with the investigation and insist on supervised visits rather than no visits.

  • Don’t stop going/trying to pick up your children for your parenting time. If the other parent refuses, keep showing up unless the court order says otherwise. We realize this can be painful. Also, to get hostile towards your ex in your children’s presence will only make matters worse for everyone.

  • Keep a log of your activities.

  • Focus on keeping your relationship with the children positive. Don’t pump your children for information or cause your own alienation.

  • Don’t wait to intervene when you start having problems. Many times problems with alienation will occur when you or your ex starts getting serious in a new relationship. If there is a problem, contact your attorney.

  • Get a court order requiring you and the other parent to get into family therapy. The therapists will need to determine if the child or children need deprograming. The therapist doing the deprograming needs to be a different therapist than the one working with the parents. The reason is to prevent problems with trust between the parent and therapist.

  • The Alienator and his or her supports (spouse and extended family) may need to be part of the therapy and be educated about alienation and their role in the problem. At this point, the therapist has to be a salesperson in order to engage them in trying to resolve the alienation. It is not uncommon for a new spouse and grandparent can destroy any progress that the parents make in therapy.

  • Monitor your own behavior so you don’t begin alienating. Know the symptoms.

  • If the problem continues, try understanding what the other parent is reacting to without you getting defensive. Then, if necessary, try to talk openly about what you are seeing and feeling. If the problem continues, the alienating parent may need to consider therapy.

  • Don’t violate court orders. There needs to be a court order supporting the family therapy and deprograming.

The court should have a mechanism, like a Guardian Ad Litem or court staff member to monitor the parent’s compliance to the court order. Courts must find sanctions for parents refusing to cooperate. One sanction that can be considered is to actually increase the parenting time the targeted parent has with the children. If the court decides to use this sanction, the alienating parent should understand this at the time he or she is being ordered into counseling and be told to comply with the parent time court order.

Dealing with an obsessed alienator can be one of the most difficult and painful experiences you will have because you will feel powerless and it can last for years. What is most important is that you don’t add to the problem by getting caught up in the alienating cycle. Remember prevention is a must because reversing parental alienation syndrome is near impossible. Most courts don’t have an effective mechanism to handle these cases.

To find out more about this subject read:-


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