When a parent tries to alienate a child from their co-parent, the situation often gets sticky very fast. Unfortunately, many parents do not even notice the signs of parental alienation until it is too late to take effective action.
What can you do if you believe your child is a victim of parental alienation? The first thing is to pay attention to are the early warning signs.
Small displays of nitpicking
The Psychiatric Times discusses parental alienation as a phenomenon. In many cases, the strongest signs of parental alienation manifest when a child begins to refuse contact with a parent. They may not want to spend time with them, even on their visitation days. They might seem reluctant and uncomfortable the whole visit if they go. Often, they cannot provide a logical reason for this sudden aversion.
But unfortunately, by the time that happens, the damage is often done. Instead, look for early signs. For example, a child might show pickiness and irritability. They could suddenly take issue with every small thing you do. They might criticize your appearance, taste, way of cleaning or cooking and more.
Changes in behavior
Their behavior may also change. Many victims grow reticent and reclusive. They may exhibit symptoms of depression, self-directed guilt or uncertainty. Others turn their emotions outward instead. They lash out and pick fights. They disrespect authority figures and struggle to connect with peers.
If you notice these signs, take them seriously from the start. They may seem small at first, but they could indicate a much bigger problem. If you catch it early, you might stand a better chance at combating parental alienation.