It’s often difficult for couples to divide shared property, assets and personal items if they decide to separate or divorce. This process can be further complicated when children are involved. Not only are parents in a difficult position on having to decide how best to parent children between two households, but children may also not respond well to the changes happening to the family.
Fighting over custody can be an emotional and complex process between parents. Feelings of anger, betrayal and disappointment towards a partner may sometimes cloud a parent’s judgement when they decide on how to co-parent or make decisions regarding children.
Sometimes, this manifests as something called parental alienation. This term is used to describe when one parent – whether on purpose or not – decides to “badmouth” or otherwise promote negative characterization of the other parent in front of a child. This can often lead the child to develop similar feelings towards the other parent, causing an additional strain on developing a meaningful relationship between the two.
As outlined in Psychology Today, not only does this hurt the relationship between children and their parents, but it can also have a longer psychological effect on the mental health of children. Some of the mental health issues mentioned in the article include low self-esteem, self-hatred, depression and a lack of trust. Also, while the relationship with the alienated parent is damaged, studies have shown that the relationship with the non-alienated parent is damaged as well.
If you are going through a divorce or separation and are concerned about the well-being of your children and co-parenting rights, it’s best to consult with an experienced family lawyer. It’s crucial that you understand what rights you have as a parent, and how to protect your children if parental alienation is present in your situation.