What Is Parental Alienation And Its Effects On Children
During the past several years, the rate of divorces has greatly increased, and more than half of these divorced couples are already parents. Even though going through a divorce is tough for everyone, but we believe that people with kids suffer a lot more damage as the harm not only remains to them but also affects the children.
Parents’ divorce or separation profoundly damages a child’s mental health, no matter how old or young he or she is. This situation can be extremely confusing and scary for the children; the first two years after separation are especially very frustrating for the kids.
Young children develop a constant fear that their parents will stop loving them someday as they have stopped loving each other. Also, they get confused by living in two different houses to be with either parent. Teenagers may get a little aggressive and start blaming one parent for the turmoil caused amongst the family, and this is exactly where parental alienation may take rise.
What is parental alienation?
Parental alienation is also sometimes referred to as parental alienation syndrome by psychiatrists. This term was introduced by a child psychiatrist Dr. Richard A. Gardner, in the 1980s, who claimed that this syndrome takes place when one parent tries to brainwash the child and turn him against the other.
The parent who is angry at their spouse (or, in some cases, ex-spouse) is most likely to do it by creating a negative image of the other parent in front of the child. This can be done through false accusations or even by degrading the other parent when needed, just to make sure the innocent child is on their side. They might even ‘hoard’ the children only to deprive the other parent of meeting them because of the fear that the child might actually start liking them.
What research indicates?
It is discovered in many researches that most of the time, the alienating parent is a mother who is trying to turn the kids against their father. However, simultaneously there are also a number of reported cases where the father is creating this upheaval and making sure the kids don’t get to spend time with their mother.
Generically, whichever of the two parents is emotionally unstable is the one who tries to alienate the other one. These attempts are aimed at seeking more attention and affection from the kids. Also, the alienating parent is usually more financially powerful as well. They are willing to afford all the legal challenges that come their way during these tough days.
The frightening truth that these alienating parents don’t know is that they are doing a severe amount of damage to their own children, which they will surely regret in the coming years. Such kids tend to develop aggression and temper issues for their entire lifetime, which makes their lives very difficult.
Who does parental alienation?
The alienating parent is usually very self-obsessed and egotistic. Such actions portray either selfish or marginal tendencies.
Self-absorbed people are narcissists who have zero ability to even listen to others, let alone understand someone else’s point of view. All they do is completely focus on them and strive for whatever they want and whatever brings them happiness. They tend to give absolutely no importance or regard to other’s feelings and wishes. They are least interested in other’s opinions and beliefs.
Alienating parents have a higher degree of self-obsession, and they are more than likely to use their own kids as pawns in their fights with their spouse, they may see this as a strong weapon to destroy their partner or ex-partner. Even though these narcissists claim that they are doing this to ensure their children’s safety and all they want is to protect their kids from the toxicity of their other parent - but, in fact, they have little or no regard for the children’s welfare. All they actually want is to win over their children’s support and deprive the other parent of their kids’ warmth and love to make them suffer in the worst way possible.
Impact of parental alienation on children
Where kids value and even benefit from the presence of both their parents in their lives, they get very negatively affected if either one of them is missing. This can completely shatter their mental health for their entire lives, and might as well shape up their opinion about love and relationships.
These innocent little creatures are damaged heavily when parents crumple them in their own fights and on their way through divorce. There is nothing that can damage or harm your child more than you, especially if you are an alienating parent. By doing so, you are depriving your child of an incredible blessing for his entire life just to win your own little ego battle against your spouse.
What provokes parental alienation activities?
In most of the cases, the alienating parent’s main aim is to take revenge from their partner who may have intentionally or unintentionally hurt them in their married life journey or while divorcing. However, for a parent to turn into an alienator is not necessarily caused by the hurt they may have experienced at the hands of their spouse, the reason behind this change in them can simply be their own narcissism as well.
To your surprise, they might have even initiated the divorce themselves, which they then accuse their partner for. Some other causes may include jealousy and hatred towards the ex-spouse for remarrying or getting involved with someone else.
You may be surprised, but some alienators even do it as an attempt to squeeze out some money from their ex-partner. Unbelievable, how some people stoop so low for the sake of money. These arrogant, greedy souls don’t think once for their child and are completely blinded by their greed for money. They believe that when the children live with them, their ex-spouse will cater to extra child support through which they can easily profit by quoting the wrong expenses of the child.
Other than this, another motive behind parental alienation can be an excessive obsession with the child. People who do this don’t realize how they are damaging their own child out of mere love. These alienators tend to start alienating the child from a very young age to make sure he’s on their side before gaining maturity and the ability to decide for himself. Usually,in the end, such people are always left alone.
However, there are a million other reasons as well that combine to provoke parental alienation behaviors, but these are the most commonly found ones.
Effects of parental alienation on children:
We have mentioned some of the dangerous effects parental alienation brings on children above as well, but to give you a clearer image, here are some more of the most commonly-seen effects in such children:
1. Such children develop aggression:
When young children see one of their parents getting alienated, and they are always fed with negativity from the alienator, they develop temper issues, and they start getting angry at every little inconvenience.
They start looking at everything in a negative way, and even when someone is only trying to help them out of kindness, they tend to react adversely as they are nurtured in this way - and according to them, this is the right thing to do.
2. Children who are victims of parental alienation grow self-hatred:
This is probably the worst of all the effects! When a child is always targeted and brought between quarrels, he starts thinking his parents are fighting because of him, and maybe they would be better off without him. This self-hatred may lead to suicidal thoughts or even result in the child, causing himself minor harms such as burning or cutting parts of his body as an attempt to punish himself. These things are a hundred times more disturbing in real life than they are in reading.
3. The children become depressed:
Depression is a very common disorder nowadays as everyone is surrounded by a bunch of problems. However, depression in young children is far more dangerous than in adults. Kids don’t know how to cope up with this disorder. In many cases, such kids are prone to get involved in drugs and other such activities. Severe depression might as well lead them to take their own life or worse, make them a criminal who is always looking for people to punish.
These are just a handful of effects to give you an idea of how dangerous parental alienation actually is for children. There are a billion more adverse effects that this deadly syndrome brings upon innocent lives.
If you ever feel angry at your spouse, try to sort it out when your child is not around. Also, show him that just like disagreements are natural, so is making up after a fight. Your child’s mental health should be your first priority as he’s not only your kid but also the future of your country. We hope this article was helpful for you and helped you understand the addressed issue.