Although awareness is increasing regarding the tragic issue of Parental Alienation and Hostile Aggressive Parenting, the fact is that many people still do not realize that it even exists. Those that do acknowledge the issues often don’t understand how damaging it is to parent-child relationships, and to the emotional well-being of everyone involved.
Although Parental Alienation does sometimes occur when a parent has done something drastic to injure or frighten a child. This can be the case in child abuse or domestic assault situations, but it is surprisingly more common when the parent has done nothing overtly to harm the child at all. In these cases, it is the one parent that is manipulating the child as a way to hurt the other parent and control their behavior.
Parental Alienation is exactly what it sounds like – the alienation of a parent by a child. In cases where the alienation happens as a result of one parent poisoning the child against the other parent, this is referred to as Hostile Aggressive Parenting. This is seen in countless cases in Michigan’s Family Court system.
Hostile Aggressive Parenting is a form of child abuse. In situations where one parent uses Hostile Aggressive Parenting to control and manipulate their child’s affections, the child’s psychological well being is often severely impacted in a negative way. For example, the child’s emotional needs are not considered and are sacrificed on the pyre of what the parent believes is more important – vengeance against the other parent.
Depriving a child of the chance to be loved and cared for by both parents, and in turn to show love for both parents, the Hostile Aggressive parent takes on the role of “abuser”. This in turn, can cause a host of problems for the child during their childhood and later on in life. Judges and Friend of the Court staffs are well aware of this all-too-common problem in Michigan.
The signs of Parental Alienation can be subtle at first, and sometimes can be hard to separate from the inevitable grief and hostility that many children suffer in the wake of a divorce. The following are a few basic symptoms you should watch for if you suspect your ex of being a Hostile Aggressive parent:
- Blaming the alienated parent for everything
- Questioning a child about details of the alienated parent’s personal life
- Intentionally scheduling activities to conflict with the alienated parent’s visitation
- Refusing the alienated parent access to a child’s medical/school records
- Acting hurt or sad if the child expresses a desire to see the alienated parent
- Creating temptations in order to encourage the child to avoid visitation with the alienated parent
Thankfully, more and more Michigan courts are recognizing the dangers of Parental Alienation and Hostile Aggressive Parenting and acting accordingly, incorporating that awareness into custody litigation. However, awareness is not enough. You are going to need an expert attorney with years of experience handling contentious divorces and custody battles on your side. Our family law team has litigated hundreds of custody cases over the decades and is well versed in addressing these problems.