The Impact of Parental Alienation

While divorce itself is devastating, the manner in which parents behave afterwards can have more intense, long-term impact upon children than the split. When one parent criticizes the other and keeps the child away from the other parent, he or she is said to be “alienating” that child’s affections from that parent.

parental alienation

For the sake of your children’s long-term emotional health and relationships, do not sit quietly while your ex degrades your relationship with your children. Multiple research studies  of parental alienation indicate that upon becoming adults, children who’ve not had the benefit of both parents in their lives suffer greatly. Every child has an innate desire to love and be loved by two parents. They should be entitled to this opportunity. In addition to the lack of presence of one parent, children, no matter how much they seem to side with the targeting parent, suffer emotional distress upon hearing criticisms.

Consequences of Parental Alienation

Adult children who eventually recognize they’ve been the victim of one parent’s indoctrination wind up suffering severely. Researchers have documented that these adult children suffer far higher and more intense incidences of:

  • low self-esteem

  • lack of trust

  • unstable relationships

  • substance abuse

  • depression

  • inability to give and accept love from any parent or partner

  • severe guilt stemming from what they perceive as their betrayal of the alienated parent

  • becoming alienated from their own children

Today, researchers view these often life-long effects as severe. Indeed, the lack of self-awareness and the emotional issues at work that allow one parent to cause this level of damage indicate that the parent is narcissistic enough to engage in additional physical, sexual and emotional abuse. Do not regard parental alienation as a sad but expected consequence of divorce. You must fight it.

Fighting Parental Alienation in the Courts

The courts consider some parents that engage in this behavior as “Hostile, Aggressive Parent” or “targeting parent” and those that are the target are the “targeted parent” as well as a victim of “parental alienation.”

The good news is that the courts have seen these behaviors for decades and do not allow perpetrators to use with them to win custody, alimony, child support, or the affections of the children. When the targeted parent brings this up in the court, judges recognize behaviors and insist on testing.

The “hostile aggressive parent,” known to the courts as the HAP, tends to:

  • Constantly demean and disparage the targeted parent

  • Blames him/her for diminished financial circumstances

  • Coaches the children with statements to make to court officials and child protective services

  • Refuses to provide medical or school records to the targeted parent

  • Insists on rigid visitation rules when targeted parent has a special event that falls outside the days stipulated

  • Implies that having fun at targeted parent’s home is a betrayal

  • Gives permission to refrain from visiting the targeted parent despite court mandated visitations


Children involved in a situation where parental alienation is going on often:

  • Provide details of the divorce in verbiage beyond their years

  • Demonstrate a sudden resistance to spending time with the “targeted” or alienated parent

  • Become incredibly rude to the targeted parent

  • Act either frightened of, angry at or cold to the targeted parent

  • Resist visiting targeted parent during scheduled times

Father’s Rights Law Center Arms You to Fight Parental Alienation

The experienced attorneys at the Fathers’ Rights Law Center have seen hundreds of cases of parental alienation. When we present them to the courts, we make sure to have rigorous documentation. Our testimonials from clients who’ve won these cases reveal how hard we fight to ensure the long-term well-being of children. Our complimentary consultation can help you find clarity on whether your ex may be actively alienating your children’s affections from you. Call us at 1-800-4-LAW-HELP to speak with a dedicated attorney today!

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