Sunday, October 24, 2010

parenting during alienation

One could say that parenting a child while being a target in an alienation case is an oxymoron. How does a parent be a parent during this? How do we as parents correct the abhorrent behavior that our children have? Any correction or punishment of their behavior only adds fuel to the alienation and to the alienating parent. Grounding your child sends the message that you are the bad parent, because the other parent is constantly instilling that message to them. Your children could be told things such as, see I told you your mom/dad doesn't let you do anything, see I told you your mom/dad is always grounding you and more.

So what does a parent do? I don't have a blanket answer and what has worked for me may not work for your case. Target parents are looking for advice and are willing to do what it takes to overcome this as well. You may be wondering what was my "secret" to finally have my son start coming around. There is no secret or special formula. But I can talk about my case and hope that what I have gone through and done helps other target parents. This is my goal, to help other target parents overcome the alienation and to reconnect with their children. My other goal is to have the legal system and counselors recognize this alienating behavior for what it is.

One piece of advice that I got was to "pick my battles". Pick my battles? What are you talking about? How many can I choose?

Let me state that I was not aware of the term parental alienation until after my son accused me of abusing him after a weekend visit in the summer. He spent the summers with his dad and for years all went well, or so I thought. This particular year 2005, things changed. We had a good weekend considering all the problems that happened that weekend. I was kissed goodnight, hugged and told that I was loved by my son. Looking back, I have to wonder if the problems were not part of a plan. I would later find out that my son was told that he could tell the judge where he wants to live and the judge has to listen to him if things change at mom's home. Prior to this weekend I had a son who was considerate, empathetic, sympathetic, loving, giving, respectful and always striving for a bigger goal academically. My son did not have a strong relationship with his dad. I fault his dad for this because his dad was always too busy with work and other activities to take time off to attend school functions and more. My son hated this and always made excuses for his dad, such as his dad's work is important and dad did not get enough notice to change his work schedule. I hated that my son thought this, but I never told him different. I just agreed that his dad had an important job. His dad never called on a regular basis and that bothered my son. But again, there was always an excuse. What I hated about the summer extended visits was that my son was not spending the time with his dad, but spending it with the new wife or girlfriend or in a daycare setting. His dad did have to work and did well in his job, but I never saw any efforts on his part to set aside special time for his son. Our son spent his time with others instead of his dad during the summer.

After that weekend, as I call it, my life turned upside down and things changed drastically and seemingly overnight. Now my list of "pick my battles" was overwhelming. So what were the battles I thought I had to pick from? If you recall I have stated that my son did not get phone calls from his dad. Now he was getting calls up to 15 times per day. Not that it is bad, but it is a dramatic change from previous behavior of his dad. My son was going to his room to talk, but he was slamming shut a door to his room and locking it. Behavior that was also a dramatic change. When I asked that he did not slam his door, he would slam his door again. Asking my son to help set the table for dinner was now met with words of "you can't make me". Dinner was a major and stressful time. He would literally shovel his food into his mouth, and display horrendous table manners. He would leave the table within minutes and refuse to take his dinnerware to the sink. Telling my son I loved his was met with a look that just sliced my heart in two. School was a major issue. Letting him know that he had x amount of time to get ready for school was met with him rolling over and ignoring me. Repeated requests were ignored. Finally I was told that if I force him to do something, he will call the cops and report me for abuse. His school work suffered and I was told that he was trying to get kicked out of school so the judge will force him to live with his dad. I was told he "knew" how to run away and there was nothing I could do and the judge will say he can live with his dad. Peers and my family members were also subjected to this behavior. An elderly lady who always relied on his help with his taking groceries from her car to her house was told she can do it herself. It became embarrassing to hear his insults and rants to others. He refused to call me mom and either referred to me by my given name or as Hey. He told me to take sleeping medicine in excess and to indulge in foods that I was severely allergic to. I was told to buy him things because his dad buys him things. I was told his dad does what he wants. I was told his dad has a bigger and better home, so the judge will let him live there. I had a list of behaviors that were on my battle list and I had to pick carefully. Common courtesy, human decency and civility were completely lacking in his interaction with me and of those close to me.

So I had to find out what a parent was. To me that meant that I loved him, showed him love, guided him, set good examples and try to mold him to be a productive citizen as well. That also meant to me that when he disobeyed reasonable requests, he would have repercussions as well. In the past that meant things such as doing well in school rewarded him. Good behavior could result in a new game or something he was wanting at the store. Bad behavior could be a grounding from the playstation system.

His behavior was abhorrent and grounding was not going to work. He was not doing anything behavior wise to warrant a reward. My hands were tied for the most part.

Then I thought about it. What is the most important thing a parent can do for their child beside offer shelter and the necessities of life, such as food, clothes, school supplies and such? LOVE. That is probably the most difficult things to feel good about when your child so clearly does everything in their power to appear that they hate you and want you to disappear completely from their life. Then I realized that the most important thing however, that any parent can give their child, is a sense of being loved and we have to remember that we are not perfect. Parents this is not a competition as to who can buy more for the child. We have faults, everyone does, parent or not.

The battle I picked was the disrespectful to the parent one. I told him his behavior was not acceptable. I told him I will not hear him being disrespectful to me or to his dad. Yes, I had to bite my tongue and not say disparaging things about his dad and admit I was not always successful, but I caught myself and recognized my own behavior. I always told my son I loved him even when he was very clear in his hatred for me.

Somehow with time, prayers, faith, preservation and many breakdowns of crying in private, things have changed.

Although the courts have laws defining behavior of a parent who is denying visitation, I will touch upon the legal side at a later time.



  1. After reading this it took me back to my childhood and reminded me of how i would act twords my mother. My parents got divorced when i was 5 and my mom was married whenever i came back from my dads house bairly a year later and then my mom and step dad had my little sister and i never heard from my dad again until i was 15. My grandma told me my step dad scared my dad off and that's y i never heard from him but like u mentioned about your son in the story i would always make an excuse for him. I ran away from home more then 8 times and i always felt like i did not belong where i was at while growing up. So now i am starting to wonder if my mom did the parental alienation thing to me because reading this and it putting me back into that same memory of my childhood well it kinda just sounds like it. I remember the HUGE arugements between me and my mom and step dad. They would ground me at the age of 7 for having soda cans under my bed that i didn't even remember being there and for each can it was a month of being grounded. I did terrible in school and they would always tell me u r old enough to do your own homework and i would be taken to theripists for who knows what reason and they would put me on this medication that made me feel really tired all the time. One night I didn't want to eat cause i wasn't hungry and my mom came and pritty much beat my back with the wooden spoon and i was so angry about it i walked right out the door bair footed and went missing for three days and you know what is messed up about that is whenever the cops found me and brought me back home my step dad was there and he was nice about everything and you could tell he was truly worried about me but whenever my mom got there it all blew up she started flipping out on me and it was so bad that the cop had to personally talk to her and let her know be happy your daughter is home safe there are some girls that don't even get that chance. So i think my mom did have the whole parental alienation thing going on with me. I never felt jelous of my sister, i never asked for much all i wanted was to be treated like a normal kid. My friends would ask me if i could go to the movies with them and i would tell them i could not go because i was grounded and they would tell me that whole thing of oh i knew u were gonna say that your always grounded and your mom won't never let u have fun, and it made me kinda hate my mother even more. I would go ask someone oh what r your plans this weekend and they would say why do u wanna know your mom wouldn't let you do it any ways. after awhile i just felt out of place and i feel like it has affected my adult hood some cause i am now afraid to ask simple things like" i need this can you get it for me please" just simple stuff. But since i have had my first child I have stepped up and had to show her look i am a mother now you can't treat me like i don't know what i am doing anymore and what did she do well she gave my daughter beer at 2 months old because of gas but i had the bottle made and gas drops in there so i ended up cutting her off for 2 years. I felt like it was the only way to tell her look like i said this is my life now and u can't control it anymore. I will never ever treat my 2 children the way she ever treated me because that just beats them down and i don't wanna do that i wanna build them up to be strong people not hurt and subconcious of themselfs and have them feeling like they did something wrong all the time.My kids are my life.

  2. This is a horendous act and this form of abuse in not gender specific. There are many mothers out there like yourself who are also caught up in this atrocity as well as the long lasting effects on the children. Stay the course and you will see your motherhood returned to you. I have also written an article on the subject and so far has reached over 9,973 others. Please feel free to contact me if you need to "talk" to someone. Here is the link >

  3. thank you LynnValley1 for your kind words. You are correct that this abuse is not gender specific.

  4. Let me also add my thanks for posting your experience. Parental alienation is real and affects countless parents, children and extended members every year. And you are correct that neither Moms or Dads have cornered the market on the unresolved emotional issues that cause one parent to damage, and in some cases destroy, a child's normal, healthy relationship with the child's other parent.

    For more parental alienation information and resources you can visit

    Good luck.

  5. Thanks for sharing your story, it is very similar to my own. One of the most frightening things is how easy it is to do this to a child (or children in my case), and how quickly it can happen, taking you completely off guard. Glad to hear you have had some success in fighting one battle, and best wishes with continuing to connect with your son. Don't give up!!