Divorces can often lead to abrupt behavioral changes in a child. For example, the child might suddenly become argumentative or even have explosive rages. They may ask the parent to stop attending extracurricular activities, and the parent could be removed from contact lists for camp and school. California divorcees should be aware that these could all be signs that parental alienation is occurring.

Parental alienation happens when one parent manipulates a child in a way that turns them against the other parent. Parents who have been diagnosed with narcissistic or borderline personality disorder are more likely to engage in parental alienation. In some cases, the child may even use the same language as the parent causing the alienation to denigrate the targeted parent. However, the child might deny that the other parent has played a part in this behavioral change. The child might also deny positive experiences with the targeted parent.

The targeted parent may want to talk to a professional about how to handle the situation. No matter how extreme the situation gets, however, the parent should respond to the child’s provocation with love and firm boundaries.

Parental alienation can be difficult to prove in court. Therefore, a parent who is experiencing this situation might want to talk to an attorney about the best way to handle it. If there is evidence of abuse or if the other parent has an issue with alcohol or drugs, the targeted parent may be able to present this evidence to a judge. This could result in the other parent being required to only have supervised visitation with the child.