Parents want what is best for their children, even those who suffer through a divorce. Though studies have proven that a healthy relationship with both parents is best, some divorced or separated parents do not feel the same. 

When a child begins to withdraw and act out, it may warrant taking a closer look. Parental alienation occurs when one parent purposely causes a rift between the other parent and the child. While you may dismiss some behavior as a child acting out, there is a chance much more is going on under the surface. Learn the signs of this detrimental practice so you can recognize them in your child. 

Stopping loving behavior  

The onset of parental alienation syndrome is challenging to identify, mostly because the damage occurs before you see the signs. One crucial element to look out for is a sudden withholding of affection. For example, if your child suddenly stops sharing hugs, you may want to inquire about it. Depending on the age of the child, he or she may start revealing things about you that can indicate the other parent is poisoning the child’s perception of you. 

Defending the other parent  

When parents divorce, one may experience more anguish from the process than the other. From this emotion, a negative viewpoint of the former spouse may grow into comments made and stories told to the children that may not have any relevance to them. 

For example, if your daughter suddenly tells you that her mom will never marry again after what you did to her, you may want to start questioning your ex-wife’s motives in telling a child this. The information is not relevant, and if you try to defend yourself, your daughter may lash out against you, coming to the aid of her mother. 

Parental alienation can inflict permanent damage between a child and a parent. When you find this type of thing happening, you may want to contact an expert for guidance.