Identifying Early Signs of Parental Alienation

Recognizing the Signs

Identifying Early Signs of Parental Alienation

Parental alienation can sneak up on you without you noticing. Unfortunately, once a child is alienated from his or her parent, intensive reunification therapy may be needed to rebuild the damaged relationship. For this reason, it’s important to be able to recognize the early signs of parental alienation before it’s too late.

When a child is alienated from his or her parent, the bond between them is damaged. The damage to that bond can skew the parent-child relationship. Typically, a child who is a victim of parental alienation might:

  • Be dependent on and enmeshed with the alienating parent (AP)
  • View AP as without fault
  • Ignore or reject alienated parent
  • Assume caretaking role of AP
  • Cope poorly and show abnormal reality testing
  • Be anxious and fearful
  • Fear showing signs of love toward the alienated parent

As the alienation progresses, the child might display hostility toward or even refuse to have contact with the alienated parent. At this point, a child might also lie about the alienated parent and make false claims that could have dire consequences. A child’s word is taken seriously in child welfare cases, so it’s important to protect your child from parental alienation from the start.

Other Ways to Protect Your Child

Watching your child for early signs of parental alienation isn’t enough. The alienating parent may exhibit signs that can indicate their intentions, such as:

  • Being emotionally fragile or unstable
  • Acting defensive
  • Being revengeful or bitter
  • Becoming dependent on the child
  • Lacking empathy and insight into their behaviors
  • Inappropriately indulging the child

If the other parent is showing any of these signs, make sure you thoroughly document them, which will be helpful if your case goes to court. Also, speak with a child custody attorney about your options should things progress. In extreme cases, the alienating parent may attempt to gain full custody and withhold the child from the other parent. Such an action can damage parent-child bonds significantly and make reunification that much harder. Fortunately, alienated parents in this situation can seek legal help to protect their rights and their child’s best interests.

Parental alienation is a powerful force and one that can tear your family apart. Speak with an experienced New Jersey child custody attorney if you are concerned about parental alienation. An attorney can help you take steps to protect your child and prove the other parent was using alienation tactics.

Are you concerned about parental alienation? If so, Williams Law Group, LLC can help. Our skilled attorneys can advise you of your rights and help you protect your child’s best interests at all costs. Located in Short Hills, New Jersey, Williams Law Group, LLC provides compassionate and dedicated legal services to Union, Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Morris, Monmouth, and Middlesex counties, and the surrounding areas. Our knowledgeable attorneys handle divorce and family law, child custody, and child abuse/neglect cases. Call our office at (908) 810-1083, email us at, or contact us through our confidential online form to schedule a consultation and ultimately get you connected with an experienced New Jersey divorce and child custody attorney.


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