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What are signs of parental alienation after a divorce?

An intense and stressful divorce can leave you, your ex-spouse and your children feeling overwhelmed at everything that happened.

Even after this rough time, you still may notice subtle signs of manipulation and alienation from your ex-spouse toward your children. Knowing how parental alienation works and how it can hurt you is important.

Hiding secrets

According to Psychology Today, some parents try to manipulate what their children think of the other parent by telling them private information. These conversations often involve a distorted, negative view of you, which can make your children feel nervous to talk to you.

Your ex-spouse may also tell the children to keep the talks secret from you to make it harder to correct this misconception of you.

Minimized bonding time

A child who is being told lies about you after a divorce may suddenly choose to tell you to not join him or her for a recital or other personal event. You could also notice a sudden lack of invitations to school events or parent-teacher conferences.

By suddenly excluding you from bonding experiences, your ex-spouse can drive a wedge between you and your children. Shortening visitation time by picking up the children early or dropping them off late can also be a subtle way to weaken your bond.

Reduced communication

If a parent restricts a child’s ability to call or text his or her other parent, then that can be a sign of alienation. These tactics can happen in subtle ways and grow as time goes on. Taking careful notice of how your ex-spouse behaves around your children can help you tell if alienation is going on.


Christine S. Cook has earned a reputation in the legal community for her professionalism and among her clients for the care and personal attention she gives to every case.

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