When parental alienation strikes, many parents falsely assume it will happen in a big way. This mistake can cost you everything. Often, by the time big signs show up, an alienating parent has already spent significant time working on their plan.
So what can you do to help mitigate this issue? The biggest thing is understanding and recognizing smaller signs of parental alienation before they grow big.
Red flags of parental alienation
The Psychiatric Times looks at parental alienation and how it manifests. This differs from child to child and often changes based on your child’s personality, maturity level and age. But some signs stay the same throughout. For example, the big “red flag” is a child refusing to spend time with you or rejecting you outright. Unfortunately, by the time it gets to this state, there is not always much you can do.
Instead, keep an eye out for the smaller signs that often pave the way. First, your child might grow more critical of you. This manifests in many ways. They could suddenly take issue with your cooking, refusing dishes they once loved. They might gripe about the way you clean your house. This might even extend to things like your hobbies or taste in music.
Behavioral signs often surface early on, too. Parental alienation stress often manifests in many ways. But two primary ones include outward anger and inward guilt. If they express their stress outwardly, they may seem short and terse. They could lash out at you. If they express it inwardly, they might seem depressed and withdrawn. If you notice any of these signs, it could point to the possibility of parental alienation.