Parental alienation can have long-lasting effects on children caught in the crossfire of a high-conflict Colorado divorce or separation. This emotionally charged situation occurs when one parent deliberately turns their child against the other parent.
While parental alienation can cause harm to the alienated parent, it is also detrimental for children.
Parental alienation often involves manipulating a child’s emotions, leading him or her to believe that one parent is bad or unworthy of love and trust. This manipulation can result in intense emotional distress for the child. The child may experience feelings of confusion, anger, sadness and guilt, and he or she may struggle to understand the conflicted emotions forced upon them.
Loss of identity
Children benefit from having a strong sense of identity, and both parents play a role in shaping it. When one parent works to alienate the other from the child’s life, the child can lose a significant part of his or her identity. This loss can lead to self-esteem issues, making it challenging for the child to develop a healthy self-concept.
Long-term psychological impacts
The consequences of parental alienation can extend well into the child’s adulthood. It can create deep-seated emotional wounds that are difficult to heal. Children who experience parental alienation may also carry unresolved emotional baggage that impacts their personal relationships and overall mental health once they become adults.
Parental alienation can negatively affect the child’s relationships with both parents. The alienated parent often feels hurt, while the alienating parent may lose the opportunity to have a healthy co-parenting relationship with his or her former partner. Children caught in this dynamic may struggle to build positive relationships with their parents, causing them to miss out on valuable emotional support.
Science Direct reports that about 3.8 million American children face either moderate or severe alienation from a parent. Recognizing and preventing parental alienation helps protect the emotional well-being of children caught in the midst of a divorce or separation.