When you go through divorce, there are going to be some hard feelings. This is realistic, and it’s something that most couples deal with as they separate.
There is a difference between keeping those feelings to yourself and altering your children’s perception of their other parent, though. In fact, if you say negative things about the other parent to your children, then you could be accused of parental alienation and face trouble when you try to seek child custody.
What is parental alienation?
Parental alienation is when a parent make false statements or negative statements to affect the way their child feels about the target parent. In some cases, this is intentional, but it isn’t always.
Children who are repeatedly given gifts or benefits for disparaging the other parent may psychologically begin to push them away on purpose to continue to reap the benefits of agreeing with the alienating parent. In a worst-case scenario, the children may refuse to see the other parent and even make false allegations of abuse or neglect.
Parental alienation is a serious problem that you have to address immediately
If your estranged spouse mentions to you that your children have said something negative to them after hearing you talk about the other parent negatively or you realize that they overheard you when you were upset, it’s important to address that issue immediately.
Your children should understand that the issues you and the other parent are having are between you and that it is acceptable for them to have a relationship with the other parent. It is in your best interests to support their continued relationship in a healthy way, unless there is a reason that being with the other parent is dangerous.
Take steps to maintain your children’s positive relationships now, so you don’t end up facing trouble in court later.