Child standing on cliff in sunset alone

Alienation, by definition, means to isolate one thing from another. In the case of parental alienation, it means steps (often planned and malicious ones) a parent takes to isolate the child or children from the other parent through words and conduct in an effort to create a division, estrangement and even hostility between the victimized parent and child.

In Georgia, parental alienation is extremely frowned upon. It is a high-stakes game; if the parent is found to have committed parental alienation, be it moderate or extreme, it may result in the child or children being removed from the alienating parent and placed into custody of the targeted parent. You could possibly loose custody of the child, and severely damage your relationship as a result. Parental alienation can take place for years without being noticed by anyone other than the other parent or those very close to the child. An alienated parent must act quickly and decisively. Parental alienation can cause a lifetime of psychological harm to a child and not only alienate a child from a parent but cause that same child’s future relationships to suffer as he or she grows into adulthood.

Five forms of Parent Alienation that may lead to loss of custody:

Parental Alienation and Disparagement

Disparagement is generally the starting point of parental alienation and the first warning sign that alienation is taking place. Disparagement is negative comments about the other parent. It is not limited to direct the parent to child comments. Disparagement can come in the following forms: Parent to child comments that insult, scorn, or otherwise speak negatively of the other parent.

Alienation and Undermining Authority

Parental alienation can also occur when one parent undermines the authority of the other. In an ideal custodial arrangement, the parents (though living separate and apart), are a united front when it comes to the children’s education, safety, welfare, and activities. Undermining authority is a form of alienation because, over time, the perpetrating parent has the child believe that there is a right way of parenting and a wrong way and the “wrong way” by the parent being alienated makes that parentless capable of parenting, the subject of ridicule, and far less important in the child’s life.

Alienation and Parentification

The alienating parent places the child into a position (and influences the child as a result) of making decisions the child does not have the maturity to make. These aren’t just every day decisions but those that are set to undermine or alienate the other parent. For example, allowing the child to make decisions as to whether or not the child wants to visit with the other parent or permitting the child to decide what is in his or her best interest regarding homework and bedtime. This creates an illusion that the child has more “freedom” at one parent’s house versus another and can directly influence the child to believe it is in his or her best interest to spend more time with the alienating parent.

Parental Alienation and Parental Substitution

Parental substitution is exactly what it sounds like–replacing a parent with another, giving the child the impression (and ultimately, if allowed to go on long enough, the conclusion) that someone other than the child’s parent is really the parental figure. Parental substitution, like other forms of alienation, takes place in many ways. The most common are:

  • telling a child to call the alienating parent’s significant other “Dad” or “Mom”;
  • allowing the belief that the child has two dads or two moms to become ingrained in a child’s mind;
  • allowing the non-parent to take on parental roles and functions in various aspects of the child’s life. This includes socialization, activities, education, discipline, etc;
  • persuading the child that the substitute parent has a greater love for the child than the biological parent.

What Can You Do About Parental Alienation?

First, take it seriously. Second, hire an experienced child custody attorney who has handled such cases successfully. Our team here is Crystal Wright Law fits that mold. Third, set a specific strategy to combat the parental alienation. You do this with your lawyer. Parents who engage in alienation too often believe they can get away with it. With the help of our attorney Crystal Wright, you help keep that from occurring.

For an immediate consultation, please call attorney Crystal Wright at: (404) 594-2143