When parents split up, there can be a lot of painful emotions and logistical challenges. These can create stress for parents, potentially leading to some unwise and harmful decisions. One such decision could be your ex trying to turn your child against you. Below are tips for what you can do if you are worried about this happening.
Watch for these signs
If the other parent is manipulating your child or lying to them to get them to hate you, it could be parental alienation.
Parental alienation is very serious; many courts and professionals consider it emotional or psychological abuse. Watching out for signs of this can be crucial. Be especially mindful if your child is:
- Unable to say or believe anything positive about you
- Parroting the other parent’s phrases and arguments about you
- Showing no guilt or remorse about treating you badly
- Being rude, mean or blaming toward you for no reason
- Always siding with your ex, even if they are obviously or factually wrong
- Rejecting your family members without cause
- Refusing to see or spend time with you
If there is no justification for these actions and behaviors, it could indicate parental alienation.
Protect your rights
You have rights as a parent, which can include the right to spend time with your child and the right to make decisions for them. Protecting these with court orders and enforcement actions can be crucial.
If you are worried about your ex turning your child against you, take your rights seriously. Maximize your time with your child; hold your ex accountable if they violate court orders; comply with your court orders regarding custody, visitation and support. You can work with an attorney to do these things.
Take legal action
If your ex has engaged in abusive, harmful behavior, you could also pursue legal avenues to protect your child from further mistreatment.
In some cases, Washington courts could limit or revoke the other parent’s rights. For instance, they could reduce parenting time or require supervised visits. Your ex could also lose their right to make decisions for your child and be required to undergo parental evaluation and counseling.
If you suspect your ex of turning your child against you, these actions can protect your child’s welfare and your rights as a parent.