When some California parents do not get along with the other parent, they may attempt to have the child spurn that parent. Known as parental alienation, this process occurs when a child turns away from one parent or attempts to completely end a relationship with them.
There are several warning signs that may indicate that parental alienation is occurring. For example, these signs may include exclusionary requests made by the children. In these cases, a child may ask a parent not to attend a game school function. In some cases, a parent may be challenged by the child or the child may become combative when interacting with a parent. The child may indicate that the parent cannot do anything right. These sentiments may be echoed by the other parent. Finally, the child may take responsibility for alienating his or her parent, especially if he or she is confronted.
Parents should remain vigilant in the event the other parent attempts parental alienation. Not only can this be harmful to the child, but it could also indicate that the other parent has a personality disorder or an otherwise unhealthy relationship with the child. The child may be engaging in parental alienation out of fear, especially if he or she spends the majority of the time with the unhealthy parent.
In theory, the courts make child custody decisions that the judges believe are in the best interests of the child. However, some parents may try to use the child to hurt the other parent or manipulate the situation so that the child does not spend time with the other parent. A family law attorney may gather evidence that proves that the other parent is engaging in manipulation tactics and return to court to seek sole or primary custody to prevent further harm to the child.