While divorce is never easy, some situations are harder than others. Some divorces can end amicably. Others hold a lot of contention and high-conflict. When there are children involved, these high-conflict situations can be even more sensitive.

When parents going through a divorce don’t get along or there is a lot of conflict, it can be hard on the children.

It becomes nearly impossible to co-parent effectively. Unfortunately, this can also lead to cases of parental alienation, in which one parent tries to manipulate the child(ren) against the other parent.

So, what can you do to protect yourself and your children from the effects of a high-conflict divorce? And how can you keep them safe from parental alienation?

What Causes a High-Conflict Divorce?

High-conflict divorces occur for many reasons. There could be issues with domestic abuse, infidelity, or just two people who can’t agree on anything.

Children can, unfortunately, be used as “pawns” during a divorce when two spouses don’t get along with each other. When the children are viewed that way, it often results in one parent trying to get power over another and using the children to do so.

It doesn’t matter what caused the contention in your divorce in the first place. What matters most is how you can protect yourself and your kids from a former spouse that is trying to create even more conflict.

What Are the Warning Signs of Parental Alienation?

Again, parental alienation is typically caused when one parent manipulates a child into “hating” their other parent. It’s typically viewed as a form of abuse and can cause lasting damage when it comes to a child’s bond with that particular parent.

Some common warning signs of parental alienation include:

  • The child wanting to exclude a parent from their events
  • A child taking responsibility for the rejection of one parent
  • The child not recalling any previous bonding experiences with that parent

It can be gut-wrenching for a parent to experience these kinds of behaviors from one of their children. But, if you start to see these things, you can be fairly confident that it’s stemming from the manipulation of your former spouse “coaching” them in a specific direction.

What Can You Do About Parental Alienation?

First, you should always ask in writing to see your child. If your former spouse denies you visitation time or any communication with your child, having it in writing or via a text message can prove to a judge exactly what is going on.

Second, it’s also important to remain as persistent as possible, no matter how frustrating it might be. Your child needs you and will always need you. You’ll have to keep fighting for them.

Ultimately, in these situations, a court will have to decide the best action(s) to take against your former spouse. Then, they can grant you the parenting time you deserve.

Of course, the situation can be a tough process for both parents and kids. One thing that can help you to remain calm and focused throughout the whole ordeal is to seek out the help of a therapist or counselor. You might start to feel like the world is collapsing around you if you can’t see or interact with your children the way you want.

But don’t give up hope. Counseling can help you to see the other side of the dark tunnel. That way, you can get through it with a clearer perspective.

If you’re going through a divorce or you need help re-harnessing your sense of self, please contact the San Diego Divorce Counseling Center at www.DivorceCounselingCenter.com and click the Book Online button, or call us at 619-865-3203, to set up an appointment.