What is Parental Alienation? 7 Symptoms That Your Ex is Brainwashing Your Children During the Divorce

By Staff Attorney
The Gasper Law Group, PLLC

Seal with Child - 05-05-16

Parental alienation is a serious matter that can sometimes leave families with lifelong emotional scars. The following seven symptoms can help you detect instances of alienation early, so you can get to the root of the problem and take action.

  1. Children show sudden change in attitude or behavior toward one parent/guardian.
  2. Access time is not in accordancewith agreed upon or court ordered schedule, or one parent unilaterally withholds visitation.
  3. Your ex allows the child to decide when to visit and encourages negativity toward you as the other parent.

For example, an older teenage child may be a bit more vocal about his/her own preferences and opinions regarding visitation and parental style. However, both parents are responsible for enforcing court orders, and any child under 18 is not expected to make these decisions independently.

  1. The other parent intercepts communication between your child and you—destroying mail, hiding presents, ignoring phone calls, etc.
  2. Your child expresses a disproportionate amount of sympathy and guilt toward the other parent, indicating that your ex is “playing the victim” to win over the child’s affection.
  3. Your child blames you solely for the divorce and knows too many inappropriate details regarding the separation—such as accusations of infidelity and financial situations.
  4. The other parent repeatedly undermines your parenting decisions—e.g. discouraging the child from practicing your religion; allowing the child to stay out later than your enforced curfew; lying about school performance, etc.

If you’ve noticed some or several of these signs bubbling up during your divorce, you may need to take legal action to get the alienation to stop and to protect your relationship with your child. The Gasper Law Group has extensive experience working with families going through complex divorces. Please reach out to us with questions and concerns about your case. Call us at 719.227.7779 to arrange a consultation.