Family Solicitor Dean Vickery’s thoughts on Child Alienation.
Children are the most precious gifts that one person can give to another. They bring happiness and joy and sometimes sadness but as parents we get to see them grow from little people; trying on their first school uniform to seeing them in their school plays or playing sport. We watch them mature into young adults, if we are allowed that smallest of things. They do not deserve to suffer from child alienation.
What’s happening in some divorce and separation situations?
So why are children being asked to make decisions about a parent who they love and said goodnight to. Now they do not even glance at that parent on the street when you look up to say hi or how has your day been in school. What was once normal behaviour, now sees the child ignore a parent and walk past.
So, the question which is often asked is, “why am I being treated like a stranger and or a villain. I was loved and held in such high esteem”,
Now, all that has happened is the parent is feeling the coldness and resentment of the children they love and that parent is left lonely and broken and sometimes even suicidal.
Why is parental alienation happening?
There is not a one size fits all with child alienation as you are often dealing with children of all ages who should never become involved in the fall out, of a relationship breakdown. But if one person is feeling pain from a relationship breakdown, now, so are you, by losing the love of your children who were once in your life
Perpetrators do not come with a sign saying “I am a perpetrator” and that is why it is so hard to detect.
The children see their lonely parent often crying struggling and upset and now not the person they once were because the loving child relationship with their parent is over. The entire security of family life is turned upside down because of the relationship breakdown. There is no couple, there is just lonely parent.
The child or young person is now expected to become an adult and is asked to make mature decisions, such as whether they want to see the absent parent or not which is a rhetorical question from the perpetrator.
The innocent victims of relationship breakdowns
Children should only be only thinking about playing games with their friends, enjoying a sport or even playing a computer game. Riding bikes, going to their local town and looking at clothes or having a burger and just chatting about their young people problems should all be top of a child’s agenda.
Instead they are drawn like a moth to a flame into the battle of hurt and anxiety of the parent who wants to turn the child against the person who they believe has caused them this damage and pain and who has left them in this situation. Whether they want to or not they have become sounding boards. They are asked for their opinion yet these are young people who have never had a relationship. Now they are being asked to comment on the actions of a parent.
Children were not born like this. This behaviour is often to protect the parent who is hurting, emotionally and maybe financially. That parent now wants someone to love them conditionally and not to love anyone else.
The damage caused to children can last a lifetime
What is not seen is the damage this does to the child both now and in later life.
Children are not chattels or possessions and they are born free and pure. They are not here to be bought or sold or manipulated by the parent and family who have anger against the person who is no longer in their life
Is there an answer to stop this? Yes think about what will happen when you make the decision to break up. Do not involve your children in the litigation that may be being considered and do not speak badly about the person who is no longer part of the household. Try your very best to let the children have a normal and loving relationship with both parties.
Remember children do not ask to come here. Parents make decisions to have children, so if we choose to have children, it is our responsibility to make sure they turn out to be the very best that they can be. They deserve to be loved and cared for by everyone despite the heart break we may be going through if the adult relationship does not work out.
If, you do see this behaviour starting in your own situation, take urgent action to prevent it from growing by the perpetrator. Seek legal advice.
Dean runs an out of hours service and is available to give second opinions and change of solicitor if a client is unhappy with their current legal advice.