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From Awareness to Action: 4 Strategies to Combat Parental Alienation

Parental alienation is a heartbreaking reality that affects many families. It’s a common issue for parents navigating divorce or separation, especially with unresolved conflicts and animosities between them. In such situations, children often become unwitting casualties, caught in the crossfire of their parents’ emotional turmoil.

According to a study, around 19% of the US population has experienced some form of parental alienation behavior. The other research found that out of a total of 492 parents, 103 (equivalent to 20.9%) lost custody of their children through court orders following trial. This resulted in their parental rights being revoked or restricted from visiting their children for a few hours per week or less. (1) (2)

If you feel that you’re grappling with the same problem, it’s essential to take proactive steps to address it and protect your child’s welfare. But before we explore strategies to combat parental alienation, let’s first discuss its telltale signs.

Signs of parental alienation

Similar to divorce, a child affected by parental alienation may exhibit behavioral and emotional indicators that signal the presence of this damaging dynamic. These include:

  • Negative comments: The child utters unwarranted negativity or allegations about one parent, often echoing the sentiments of the other.
  • Lack of empathy: There’s a noticeable absence of empathy or emotional connection from the child towards the targeted parent, often displaying indifference or hostility.
  • Refusal of contact: Consistently, the child avoids contact with the targeted parent, frequently without providing valid explanations.
  • False accusations: The child might fabricate accusations of abuse or mistreatment against the other parent, lacking evidence or consistency.
  • Rehearsed responses: The child’s statements regarding the alienated parent appear rehearsed or coached, lacking spontaneity.
  • Fear or anxiety: The child exhibits fear or anxiety when faced with spending time with the targeted parent, displaying reluctance or distress.
  • Unjustified loyalty: There’s an evident and unjustifiable loyalty towards one parent while demonizing the other.
  • Alienation in extended family: The alienation may extend to include the targeted parent’s extended family, with the child refusing contact or expressing hostility towards relatives such as grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc.

Recognizing these signs is the first step in addressing parental alienation. Now, let’s explore strategies to combat this harmful dynamic.

Tips to take action against parental alienation

There are several strategies you can employ to protect your relationship with your child and mitigate the damaging effects of parental alienation. Here are they:

  1. Seek legal intervention

Initiating a conversation with the alienating parent might be your first move. However, if communication and compromise fail, it may be necessary to seek legal intervention. This could involve filing for a modification of custody or visitation orders or even filing for contempt of court if the other party involved is violating existing orders.

A skilled family lawyer can guide you through the legal process and advocate for the best interests of the child. They may ask you for evidence that can confirm the patterns of alienation. If you’re wondering what kind of document it is, a parental alienation proving guide or any relevant legal resources can offer valuable insights to support your case. This material can help substantiate your claims and demonstrate the severity of the situation.

  1. Focus on the relationship with your child

Nothing beats nurturing and strengthening your bond with your child. Despite the challenges, your child still needs and craves a loving and supportive relationship with both parents. Here’s what you can do:

  • Engage in activities together: Find activities you both enjoy, such as hobbies, sports, or simply spending quality time together. These shared experiences can help bolster the bond between you and your child.
  • Listen without judgment: Be a supportive, non-judgmental listener when your child shares their thoughts and feelings. Avoid criticizing or badmouthing the other parent, as this can further alienate the child.
  • Reinforcing positive memories: You and your child could have happy memories to cherish and build upon. Reminisce about the happy times you’ve shared as a family, and remind your child of the love and care you’ve always provided.

These moves can help counteract the alienating messages the child may be receiving from the other parent. It’s also essential to note that you must maintain a positive attitude and be consistent in your efforts. When they receive consistent love, attention, and support from you, it becomes increasingly difficult for the alienated parent to sow seeds of doubt or manipulate their perceptions.

  1. Consult with a therapist or counselor

Alienated children could have a difficult time processing the complex emotions they’re experiencing. While family attorneys can be your best ally in legal proceedings, therapies or counselors offer a complementary avenue for addressing the mental impact of parental alienation on children. (3)

These professionals can provide a supportive and non-judgmental space for youngsters, adolescents, and young adults to express their feelings, fears, and concerns. Through various therapeutic techniques, they can help children understand and cope with the conflicting emotions they may be experiencing, such as loyalty binds, guilt, anger, or confusion.

Not only can your child benefit from this, but you, as a parent, can also find guidance and support through therapy or counseling. After all, it can be an incredibly distressing experience for both the alienated parent and the child caught in the middle. Therapists or counselors can assist you in understanding your child’s perspective, providing tools to navigate the complexities of the situation while promoting healthy communication.

  1. Practice self-care

The emotional upheaval caused by parental alienation can affect someone’s mental and emotional health. It’s a profound challenge that can leave individuals feeling drained, isolated, and overwhelmed.

However, amidst this turmoil, it’s crucial to recognize the importance of compassion and self-care. Taking the time to prioritize your own well-being isn’t selfish. After all, how can you support your child and advocate for your parental rights if you’re not taking care of yourself first?

When we talk about self-care, it involves activities that nurture your mind, body, and spirit. Take a look at the following examples you must engage:

  • Practice mindfulness meditation for a few minutes each day to calm the mind and reduce stress.
  • Keep a gratitude journal and write down three things you’re grateful for every day.
  • Go for a leisurely walk in nature and take in the beauty of your surroundings.
  • Do yoga or gentle stretching exercises to improve flexibility and release tension.
  • Spend time in prayer or quiet reflection to connect with your spiritual beliefs and values.
  • Engage in a creative hobby such as painting, drawing, or crafting to express yourself and tap into your creativity.
  • Listen to calming music or nature sounds to soothe the soul and promote relaxation.

Before you go into battle, you must be mentally and physically prepared, and engaging in self-care activities can help you achieve that readiness. The same principle applies when combating parental alienation. It’s like equipping yourself with the tools necessary to face this family dispute with resilience, determination, and grace.


Combating parental alienation is a complex and challenging process, but with the right strategies and support, it’s possible to mitigate the harm and preserve the parent-child relationship.

Remember, you’re not alone on this journey. Seek out the guidance of legal professionals, mental health experts, and support networks that can provide the tools and resources you need to navigate this process effectively. Most importantly, stay focused on maintaining a strong, healthy bond with your child, as this will be the foundation for healing and moving forward.


  1. “The Impact of Parental Alienating Behaviours on the Mental Health of Adults Alienated in Childhood”, Source:
  2. “Gender and child custody outcomes across 16 years of judicial decisions regarding abuse and parental alienation”, Source:
  3. “15 Self-Care Strategies for Parents”, Source: