Although parental alienation is a relatively new topic in the fields of law and psychology, experts have identified a number of best practices for ameliorating the effects of parental alienation on both children and targeted parents.
One of the most concise and practical summaries comes from Christine Hammond, a licensed mental health counselor. Writing in PsychCentral, an independent mental health news and information resource, Hammond suggests the following tactics and strategies:
Keep a journal of worrisome interactions with your child and the alienating parent.
Start by noting down the date, time, and location. Then provide a brief description of the event - e.g. an inflammatory conversation, a missed appointment, etc.
Be an open and active listener for your child.
Tell your child that they can speak to you openly and honestly, without fear of punishment or judgement (thus counteracting the messaging of the alienating parent). It can help to designate a specific time and place for this.
Engage in unstructured play.
Let your child pick an activity, and engage in it with them. Often this can help the child relax and speak freely, without falling back on the rote patterns instilled in them by the alienating parent.
Don’t retaliate against the alienating parent.
It can be tempting to counter inflammatory accusations—however, this tends to escalate the situation. Instead, simply listen and let your child know that your love for them is unconditional. This too will help undermine the alienating parent’s message.
In the United States, there is no fair and equitable standard for custody agreements under federal law.
While each custody case is unique, we believe that 50/50 shared custody should be the starting presumption in these cases unless one parent has a demonstrated history of abusive or negligent behavior.
By supporting 50/50 shared custody legislation, you are helping to reduce the likelihood that parental alienation can occur.
The tips above are all helpful ways for managing the day-to-day effects of parental alienation. If you’re ready to go a step further and take action to save other parents and grandparents from experiencing the pain of parental alienation, we encourage you to get in touch and learn more about collective actions against parental alienation in your area—and the nation at large.