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What is parental alienation?

On Behalf of | Jun 30, 2023 | Family Law

For divorcing or divorced parents, if you have noticed a change in your relationship with your children, it could be natural, but it could also be parental alienation (PA). Essentially, PA occurs when one parent initiates a strategy to alienate the other parent by getting the child to stop engaging with that parent, reject that Indianapolis, Indiana, parent entirely, avoid the parent and even develop a disdain for them.

Odd man out method

One way an Indiana parent commits PA is with the “odd man out” method. In this method, the alienating parent utilizes their parenting time to speak ill of the other parent. They constantly tell the child how bad the other parent is in an attempt to impose those same feelings on the child, which can be successful.


Another PA method is to cause the Indianapolis, Indiana, child to become co-dependent on one parent. This is done by destroying the child’s sense of self to force the child to seek approval and acceptance from that alienating parent. This, in turn, will cause the child to push the other parent away, in addition to inhibiting healthy childhood development.


Projection occurs when one Indianapolis, Indiana, parent projects their own emotional issues onto the child. These fears and negative perceptions shape the child’s own development, which, in turn, changes the child’s behavior, generally, and toward the other parent.

This can be inadvertent, but for a PA parent, they strategically project their negative fears and perceptions of the other parent onto the child, who then, over time, adopts those views.

What can we learn from this post?

For those parents who begin to notice a change in their child during divorce or post-divorce, you should have them checked by a mental health professional. It may be that they are experiencing a mental health issue related to the divorce or that it is naturally occurring. However, if the child is experiencing PA, the mental health professional can identify this as well, and if they do, contact your attorney immediately.

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