Is It Alienation or Estrangement? 6 Reasons Your Child May Reject You

As we discussed earlier, children can reject their parents for many reasons, including another parent’s brainwashing. However, sometimes the rejection has little or nothing to do with the other parent. Closely examine your situation to determine what’s actually going on before you take action, legal or otherwise. Here are 6 reasons why your child may be rejecting you – or at least acting coldly or rudely to you – that fall outside the scope of Parental Alienation.

1. Separation anxiety

Young children (and sometimes even older children) often resist even temporary separation from familiar caregivers by engaging in tantrums and other unwanted behavior.

For instance, as any parent of a three year old can tell you, leaving your young child with a babysitter to enjoy a much needed night out can lead to floods of tears. The child may beg for you to come back as soon as possible or even to cancel your dinner date. The child may also say things like “I hate this nanny” or “Don’t leave me with the babysitter” right in front of the babysitter. In that type of situation, you and the sitter can both shrug and smile — you both understand that the aggressive behavior just reflects the child’s desire to remain with a familiar caregiver; it’s nothing personal.

Similarly, when a child spends a lot of time with one parent over the other — in an uneven custody arrangement, for instance — the child may become anxious when dropped off at the other parent’s house. This separation anxiety is no one’s fault but rather an artifact of the unequal custody arrangement.

2. Natural adolescent rebellion

The relationship between teenagers and their parents is notorious and for understandable reasons. During the preteen and early teen years, children develop and mature their own identities. They naturally seek separation from their parents. For some children, this drive for independence happens earlier (and more aggressively) than for others.

If your 11-year old acts moody and refuses to engage you in conversation, the cause might be hormones and developmental shifts rather than something you or the other parent did.

3. Behavioral changes caused by diet, environment, or medical issues.

Truth be told, there are myriad reasons why a child may suddenly reject you or act out in unwanted ways. Something as small as a change in diet, for instance, can potentially lead to differences in how your child behaves around adults or around you in particular.

A mental or physical illness can likewise alter a child’s personality or behavior.

Finally, peer influence can be profoundly relevant, particularly in middle childhood to early adolescence. For instance, let’s say that you and your wife divorce. Your wife has family money, so she can afford to relocate to a big house, while you must rent a small apartment.

Your child’s friends at school might make fun of him for your small apartment; your son could respond by getting embarrassed, feeling ashamed, or even getting angry with you. These less-than-kind friends might even invent narratives about you, in the same way that an alienating parent might, and with similar consequences.

4. Inept or absent parenting.

The bonds between a parent and a child in a healthy relationship tend to be strong. But poor or absent parenting can fray those bonds and create indifferent or even hostile relationships. For instance, if you’re always on the computer — or if you provide terrible meals or treat your children in a very stern, rigid or non-compassionate way — your children might reject you.

5. The parent is sick, addicted or otherwise incapable of providing support.

After suffering disfigurement in an accident, for instance, a parent’s new appearance may scare a young child. In addition, certain types of addictions — like gambling, alcohol or internet addictions — can prevent parents from attending to their children’s needs and thus sow the seeds for frayed relationships.

All sorts of psychological and physical ills can lead, indirectly, to rejecting behaviors. The hurt caused by this rejection can compound the underlying physical and emotional trauma.

6. The parent has engaged in acts of abuse or neglect.

If you aggressively hit your child or engage in outrageous or unfair punishing — for instance, punish0000ing a child for not eating her vegetables one meal by grounding her for a month — the child might understandably come to resent and fear you and want to stay away.

However, even actions that many parents would consider to be “on the line” but not over it – for instance, maybe you spanked your daughter after she lied to you about breaking your computer – can lead to hostile and withdrawing feelings.

A court, for instance, might agree that you didn’t actually cross the line and engage in abuse or neglect, but it’s your child’s perceptions of your behavior that ultimately matter.

For skillful, experienced assistance handling your Parental Alienation case, call the Williams Law Group, LLC immediately at (908) 810-1083.

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