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What is Parental Alienation?

Updated: Jun 19


The term “parental alienation” describes a scenario where a child disfavors, and sometimes even despises, one of their parents. Parental alienation is often the result of a divorce or custody proceedings and is usually encouraged by the favored parent. Experts agree that severely alienated children frequently exhibit similar traits including behavior impairments, emotional impairments, and cognitive impairments. Needless to say, despite the favored parent’s intentions, parental alienation is not good for a child’s wellbeing.


A parent that is concerned that he or she is being alienated by their child should look to see if their child is exhibiting any of the listed common traits among alienated children. If a child is being hostile or defiant, coupled with extreme disobedience, they may be suffering behavior impairment due to alienation. If a child is showing little or no affection or appreciation toward the alienated parent, this could be a sign of emotional impairment. Finally, if a child is having thoughts or making statements that are cruel, shallow, and inauthentic or complaints that often sound like they come from the favored parent, this may be a sign of cognitive impairment.


On the other hand, if a child is rejecting a parent based on a history of conflict and abuse by that parent, this is not considered parental alienation. It is always possible that hostility and lack of a desire to spend time with a parent is not due to parental alienation. It is feasible that a child simply feels more comfortable with one parent without the influence of that parent. It is the court’s duty to determine whether parental alienation in fact presents in any given case.


If you need help navigating the waters of a suit involving your children, contact the Law Office of Robert Tsai, PLLC at 832-278-1995 so we can help you get the best outcome possible.


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