Parenting a child with someone you no longer get along with can be difficult, but it is important. Generally, Texas law presumes that it is in the child’s best interest to have relationships with both parents.
Sadly, in some cases, one parent attempts to sabotage the other parent’s relationship with the child, a behavior known as parental alienation. If you believe you may be the target of parental alienation, here are some warning signs to watch for.
Your child’s behavior has changed
Your child might suddenly seem reluctant to spend time with you. He or she might get angry, criticize or insult you, especially right after visiting your ex. If this happens frequently, it may be a sign that your ex has been speaking negatively about you to your child.
Your ex is keeping your child from you
If your ex withholds visitation because your child supposedly does not want to see you, this is cause for concern. Giving the child a choice about visitation is a common parental alienation tactic. Not only does it violate your court-ordered parenting plan, but it also forces your child to choose between his or her parents.
A more subtle tactic is intentionally scheduling events that interfere with your parenting time. While scheduling conflicts can occur for innocent reasons, frequent conflicts may be an attempt at parental alienation.
Your child is choosing sides
Parental alienation forces a child to take sides. Your child might feel guilty about having fun with you or act defensive or protective of your co-parent. You might learn that your ex has been interrogating your child for information about you.
Parental alienation can have a lifelong impact on you and your child. It is important to recognize the warning signs.