Don’t force children to choose 1 parent over the other

Experts agree that it’s best for a child to have two parents who are involved in his or her life, and psychologists have even found that one of a child’s primary desires during a divorce is just to have a strong relationship with both of them. This can help children feel loved, it can help them adjust, and it’s good for their overall development.

However, parents may have other ideas. They could compete for the child’s affection, feeling that they can come out ahead in the divorce if they’re closer to the child than the other parent. In cases where they don’t get along, parents may even actively work to turn the child against each other. Once this situation has been created, it’s called parental alienation, as the goal is basically to remove one parent from the picture in order to strengthen the relationship with the other.

Regardless of how this makes the parent feel, experts have found that it is not good at all for the child. In fact, multiple scholarly articles have referred to this practice as no less than child abuse, while also warning that it’s often overlooked.

The impact on the child can be clear, as studies have found issues like low self-esteem that can even reach the level of self-hatred, a significant lack of trust, the onset of depression and even issues with substance abuse or addiction. Additionally, researchers have found that children who are taught to behave in this way may lose the capacity both to accept love and affection from one parent and to give that love in return.

It’s very important that parents in British Columbia know what rights and legal options they have when parental alienation is detected.

Source: Psychology Today, “The Impact of Parental Alienation on Children,” Edward Kruk Ph.D., accessed March 11, 2016

This entry was posted in Child Custody and Access and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.