When you and your spouse make the decision to part ways, it may be because you have developed considerable animosity between you. While you strive prevent your children from feeling the effects of that animosity, your spouse may not always do the same.

Sometimes, intentionally or not, your spouse may encourage any children you share to reject you in some manner. When this happens repeatedly, something called “parental alienation” may occur.

Common parental alienation tactics

Parental alienation may take on many different forms, but all behaviors have the potential to damage not only the relationship between you and your child but also your child’s emotional well-being. In some cases, your ex may try to convince a shared child that you are not interested in maintaining the relationship with him or her.

In others, he or she might lead your child to believe that you are an unsafe or unfit parent. Your ex may also attempt to limit communications between you and your child, encourage your child to ignore or reject you or undermine your authority when it comes to rules or guidelines you set for the child.

Common indicators of parental alienation

Because parental alienation often occurs when your child is in your ex’s home, you may not have a chance to see it in action. You may recognize other signs that suggest it is happening, though. If your child begins to view your ex as the good parent and you as the bad one, or if your son or daughter always sides with your ex even when he or she is wrong, this could indicate a problem.

If your child begins hurting your feelings without showing any remorse and such behavior is uncharacteristic, this could be a result of your ex-spouse’s attempts to discredit you. Rejecting your friends and close family members may also suggest that your child has been subject to parental alienation tactics.