Am I a Parent Alienator?
by Jayne A. Major, Ph. D
1. Have I ever criticized or spoken negatively about the other parent or his/her family or friends in front of my child or where the child can hear me?
2. Have I ever forced my child to assure me that he/she loves me more than the other parent?
3. Do I talk about child support, money, or legal issues in front of my child?
4. Do I ever limit time with the other parent because I feel I am the only one that knows what is best for my child?
5. Do I ask my child to keep secrets, lie or hide things from the other parent?
6. Do I pump my child to get detailed information of where they go and what they do when they are with the other parent?
7 Do I prevent my child from speaking with the other parent by blocking phone messages, not returning phone calls, erasing email messages, not giving them mail or gifts?
8. Do I interrupt my child’s time with the other parent by calling too much or planning activities during their time together?
9. Have I ever sabotaged any activity that my child is doing with the other parent?
10. Do I encourage my child to blame the other parent or to choose sides?
11. Do I use my child as a therapist or my special friend to share my deep and upsetting emotions?
12. Do I let my child know that I feel badly when he/she has a good time with the other parent?
13. Do I ask my child to spy for me while with the other parent?
14. Do I ever instill guilt for liking the other parent or insist that my child reject the other parent?
15. Do I make a contest of how much love, care, and attention my child gives to the other parent and his/her family and friends versus how much attention I receive?
16. Do I stop my child from expressing his/her feelings (e.g., love, happiness, excitement, anger, fear, sadness) when I don’t like what is being said?
17. Have you ever made false accusations, such as implying drug abuse or inappropriate sexual behavior, to the police or Department of Child and Family Services?
If you answered “YES” to any of these questions, you need to evaluate to what extent you are engaging in parental alienation.
Children need to be free to love both parents. If you don’t like the other parent or feel that they are inappropriate for your child, you need to solve the problem without resorting to destroying that child’s relationship with this parent. Your child can make up his or her own mind about how much they love or even like the other parent without being unduly influenced by you.
Obsessed parent alienators will stop at nothing to damage or even sever a child’s relationship with a parent. This is a serious form of child abuse where a child is not allowed to have loving feelings for the targeted parent, or his or her extended family and friends. These people represent half of the child’s heritage. Most parents “slip up” once in a while, however, parents who really care about their child’s best interest will do all they can to keep their children out of the middle and allow them to love both.
© Jayne A. Major, Ph.D. All rights reserved. Jayne A. Major, Ph.D. is the founder of Breakthrough Parenting Services, Inc. and the author ofBreakthrough Parenting: Moving Your Family from Struggle to Cooperation. She is nationally recognized as an award-winning expert in family education and parental alienation.