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Recognizing the Signs of Parental Alienation


Many recently divorced couples who share children initially struggle to navigate their new lifestyles, which includes implementing custody orders and visitation schedules. Unfortunately, some parents use that discomfort and unfamiliarity and take it out on their former spouses, not in person, but through parental alienation. Whether this takes the form of a parent attempting to convince a child that the cause of their family’s grief and confusion is the other parent’s fault or attempts to distance a child from his or her other parent, parental alienation can have devastating consequences for children, who are already vulnerable during and immediately following a divorce. If you believe that your own child is being manipulated by a former spouse, you should consider speaking with an experienced Florida child custody lawyer who can explain your legal options for protecting your child’s interests.

Examples of Parental Alienation

Parental alienation can take a number of different forms, including:

  • Directly interfering with a former partner’s parenting time;
  • Preventing communication between a former partner and a shared child;
  • Attempting to convince a child to spy on his or her other parent;
  • Pressuring a child to make visitation-related changes or decisions;
  • Openly ridiculing or insulting a child’s other parent;
  • Manipulating a child to betray his or her other parent’s trust; and
  • Acting betrayed or sad when a child mentions his or her other parent.

In more severe cases of parental alienation, the at-fault part could even encourage a sense of closeness with a child for the sole purpose of keeping the other parent estranged. All of these types of behaviors can have an extremely damaging impact on a child’s maturation and development.

Symptoms of Parental Alienation

It can be difficult, without direct evidence, to determine whether a child has become the victim of parental alienation syndrome. However, the following behaviors are usually good indicators that a child is being manipulated by his or her other parent:

  • The child inexplicably begins rejecting or showing an open dislike for one parent;
  • The child seems to feel guilty when spending time with one parent;
  • The child begins adopting the other parent’s behaviors or echoing that person’s arguments;
  • The child shows an irrational support or idealization of one parent;
  • The child refuses gifts from one parent; or
  • The child begins refusing to spend time with the extended family of only one parent.

All of these behaviors should be taken very seriously, as they could indicate that a child is being manipulated or mistreated by one of his or her parents. It may even be necessary to modify a custody arrangement to more clearly address the types of conduct and behavior that are in a child’s best interests.

Learn More by Setting Up a Free Case Review

Please contact experienced Fort Lauderdale child custody lawyer Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. at 954-945-7591 if you believe that your child is the victim of parental alienation syndrome. Our legal team can evaluate your case, help compile evidence, and if necessary, develop a litigation strategy to help protect your child’s interests.


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