We have all heard it at least one time, “if I ever get divorced, I will do what is best for my kids and not let them be affected by it. I would never keep the other parent away!”. Unfortunately, more often than not, that is not the case.

Divorce and separation means recalling bad memories and for some taking many things completely out of context.  I have stated it in previous articles about divorce and will state it again, the only ones to suffer greatly are the children.

Parental alienation is when a child rejects and wants nothing to do with one of the parents subsequent to the divorce or separation proceedings.

The custodial parent sometimes verbalizes their feelings in the presence of the child and the child then takes on the role of protector of that parent. What can further exacerbate the parental alienation is the lack of empathy and communication from the rejected parent. This will further confirm to the child that their views are correct.

Every child deserves to have a normal and loving relationship with both parents, despite the possibility that the parents are not able to perhaps communicate with each other.There is also a possibility of fear in the child that if they were to continue to have a relationship with both parents in an equal manner, the custodial parent would react negatively and see it as abandonment by the child. The child feels torn between both parents

Unfortunately, although parental alienation has been seen by some as a form of child abuse, the courts are not easily convinced of its existence and therefore the rejected parent has a heavy burden placed upon him to demonstrate why in fact the relationship between them and their child is non-existent.

There is no clear indication that one parent is more likely to promote parental alienation over the other. More often than not, it is a question of which parent has a closer relationship with the child and has more of a reach on being able to control their emotions.

There are 3 types of parental alienations that are possible.In each situation, it is important to keep in mind that parental alienation exists and that the child is being affected by it, regardless of the degree.1)    Mild Parental Alienation: in this situation, the parent is more subtle about the alienation. The parent is not imposing or restrictive and encourages perhaps joint custody or prolonged visitations with the other parent, the whole while continuing to impose their mild degree of programming onto the children. In this situation, the alienating parent makes the child feel at ease and is comforting and tries to project an image to the child which will reinforce on to the child the stronger bond they have with that parent over the other.

2)    Moderate Parental Alienation: in this situation, the parent attempts to restrict as much as possible the interactions between the child and the rejected parent but the whole while maintaining within the lines. The parent will cooperate in therapies and evaluations but maintain her position and while denigration of the other parent occurs, it is not to the point of seriously harpening the relationship between the child and the rejected parent. This demeanor on the part of the parent is the role of a victim who wants to do what is best for the child but struggling to have it be understood. Then chid will form a strong bond with this parent and may see their role as a protector of that parent and other siblings;

3)    Severe Parental Alienation: In this situation, the parent will stop at nothing to restrict and perhaps diminish any form of a relationship between the child and the rejected parent. This type of alienation stems from a need for vengeance towards the rejected parent. There is a strong presence of paranoia on the parent and it is instilled in the children as well. In this situation, there is a clear lack of logic and lack of comprehension by the parent. Often time, the alienation also involves the extended family members of the rejected parent as well

In the majority of parental alienation cases, the mother is usually favoured while the father ensues the rejection and denigration. Regardless of the type of parental alienation, the fact remains that it exists and it should be handled immediately to avoid the deepening of the feelings of hatred by the child towards the rejected parent.

If you would like to have further information on parental alienation or discuss your particular situation, please do not hesitate to communicate with us. 514-499-2010

Ofelia Lamanna, Attorney
Azran & Associés Avocats Inc.

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