Being rejected by your son or daughter is a painful feeling. Although parents know that separation and divorce are not easy, most would never dream of their children disappearing from their life forever, seeming like a monster in response. Often, this results in a lot of anger, and you might blame your partner for turning your children against you. If you are the targeted parent, the following strategies might be very helpful to you
1. Address the untruths given to the child
You can directly address the untruths provided to the child neutrally. This can be done by telling them that you love them very much – in response to the hate they might be showing you.
2. Contact with the alienating parent
You might consider terminating contact with the alienating parent, or else, reducing contact as much as possible if the children are involved.
3. Consider co-parenting
When the environment is so hostile, co-parenting is not a simple task. However, you might consider making peace with reality. Rather than staying with the hatred, hurt, and unfairness of it all, you might process the emotions by talking them over with someone else.
4. Identify and develop your resources
Rather than giving up the fight, you might consider roping in allies, legal experts, or counsellors. You could also adopt self-care and parenting strategies whilst using your strength. It could also be a wise decision to develop a plan to address and face any allegations that may be made against you.
5. Take good care of yourself
Loving yourself is of utmost importance. Do not hesitate to forgive yourself for minor mistakes you might have made in the past. Moreover, try to take care of your physical health by eating nutritious food and getting plenty of sleep and exercise. Meditation, praying, or connecting in some other way may also be beneficial, especially for religious or spiritual individuals.
6. Avoid competition
Promises, gifts, and privileges shouldn’t be exchanged for the children’s loyalty. Although the urge to compete can be difficult to resist, it is possible to focus on yourself and what you value as a parent. Thus, you can consider focusing on the intrinsic values that you can offer your children, such as personal strengths and values.
7. Seek to establish normalcy
This is possible by adopting new behaviours, initiating new relationships, and developing new routines – as these tend to stabilize your life and provide a sense of control. By engaging in productive actions you are pushing your negative feelings into the background.
8. Counteract the effects of alienation
Find time and space for your child to vent – and listen to them empathically. Moreover, have structured times of unstructured play with your children and make sure to be patient with them.
Whenever you suspect that parental alienation is present, make sure to intervene straight away. Finally, seek to maintain a positive, loving relationship with the child so that they feel safe with you.
If you think that you can benefit from professional support on this issue you can reach out here.
Johanna Cutajar is a Master in Counselling graduate from the University of Malta. She works with children and adolescents as a counsellor within the education sector on a variety of issues including relationship issues, trauma, bereavement, transitions, and general mental health.
Stines, S. (2018). Coping with Narcissistic Parental Alienation? Consider These Tips. Retrieved from https://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/coping-with-narcissistic-parental-alienation-consider-these-tips-0115184