During or after an acrimonious divorce, Parental Alienation can manifest itself in a wide variety of behaviors, some subtle and others overt, which is why it can be challenging to determine whether a child’s actions are a normal reaction to their parents’ divorce or a sign of parental alienation, a serious issue.
One of the areas for concern is Parental Substitution. It may not be uncommon to expose a child to a parent’s new significant other; however, the way that it is handled can determine whether the behavior is a symptom of Parental Alienation. In Parental Substitution, the parent gives the child the impression that this significant other is really the parental figure. If played out over a long enough period of time, the child will accept this as reality and act accordingly by further distancing themselves from their alienated parent.
But how can you tell what is normal? Some worrisome behaviors to look for include, but are not limited to:
- A parent influencing or supporting their child to call their new significant other “Dad” or “Mom”.
- A parent using other people to support the idea that their child now has two moms or two dads until it is ingrained in the child.
- A parent allowing their significant other to take on parenting roles and responsibilities when it comes to education, socialization, activities and discipline.
- A parent convincing their child that the substitute parent has a greater love for them than the other parent.
What should I do if I suspect Parental Substitution is occurring?
The key is not to wait and hope that the problem will fix itself. Parents are sometimes hesitant to take action they may fear that perhaps they are misreading the situation or that bringing in lawyers will make it worse. The exact opposite is true. An experienced child custody lawyer can help you determine the best course of action - one that typically involves both engaging the services of a child specialist, as well as formulating a legal strategy based on the experience your attorney has in the realm of Parental Alienation. Allowing alienating behavior to continue unchecked will only result in a longer-term emotional impact on both you and your child.
Board Certified Marital and Family Law Attorney Charles D. Jamieson understands that parental alienation and divorce is an extremely sensitive and important issue. Thanks to extensive experience and a focus on open communication, Attorney Jamieson adeptly addresses the complex issues surrounding parental alienation and divorce while delivering excellent personal service. If you are concerned that parental substitution is happening to you or that you are being alienated from your child, then immediately contact The Law Firm of Charles D. Jamieson, P.A. for a consultation online or call 561-478-0312.
The Analytical Life, EWC Gazette