Many divorcing couples may share some animosity toward one another. However, that dislike can gradually turn into utter hatred, and in some cases, one parent actively uses a child they share as a weapon. Psychologists refer to this as parental alienation.
Even if the child custody agreement gives both parents equal time with a child, one parent could easily use the child to attack the other. Over time, this manipulation leads the child to develop negative feelings about the other parent and grow to actively hate him or her. Here are the early warning signs a child has begun to resent one of the parents.
More argumentative personality
As adolescents become teenagers, you may notice some changes in your child’s behavior. While it is normal for kids to rebel a little bit in their teenage years, you should worry if your child suddenly becomes increasingly argumentative. Your child may become more combative on topics that ordinarily were not a problem.
Before the divorce, your child may have delighted at the sight of you at his or her baseball game or you attending parent-teacher conferences. After the divorce, the child has requested explicitly for you not to attend these events. However, the other parent is still welcome, and the child solely lists the other parent on emergency contact forms.
Failure to acknowledge prior positive experiences
Once a child begins acting out, it is common for the parent to remind the child of all the positive times they had together. The alienated child may dismiss these memories and fail to recognize they happened.
Parental alienation is more likely to occur if the other parent has a personality disorder. In the event this ever happens to you, then you should avoid taking the bait. You should respond to all these actions with love and take the high road. You may wish to talk to a professional if you have any significant concerns about your child’s behavior.