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Ohio family law: The many forms of parental alienation

On Behalf of | Apr 25, 2019 | Family Law

Parental alienation is a term often misused. It is not just about one parent keeping children from their other parent. It is about one parent turning the kids on the other parent, poisoning that parent-child relationship. Parental alienation is something commonly seen in the world of family law. It comes in many forms and may affect numerous Ohio families every year.

According to a practicing mental health counselor in another state, there are actually three forms of parental alienation. These are active, obsessive and naive. Active alienation is when one parent does or says things that make a child feel that he or she has to be loyal to that parent. These feelings of loyalty will cause a child to essentially shut down and withhold information from their other parent.

Obsessive alienation is when a parent actively works to manipulate their child into losing interest in building a relationship with their other parent. This type of alienation causes a child to distrust their other parent, believing that the individual who is actually manipulating them is saying and doing things for their protection. Most kids do not understand that they have been manipulated until they reach early adulthood. Those who do realize it may end up turning on the manipulative parent.

Finally, naive alienation is when a parent uses passive-aggressive comments about their ex in an effort to cause a rift in that parent-child relationship. Again, this is something that children may not understand is happening. It is something, though, that can make a child feel that their other parent is falling short, cannot be trusted, should be feared or is unworthy of love and respect.

Parental alienation is emotional abuse. It does not just harm the parent it is aimed at, it harms the children in the middle of it. Ohio residents who feel that they and their children are the victims of parental alienation can take steps to end it and hold the responsible party accountable for his or her actions. A family law attorney may be able to help settle this type of issue through out-of-court negotiations or litigation.