During a divorce, it is natural to prioritize your children above all else. But unfortunately, sometimes negative emotions can get the better of a co-parent. They may even hurt your child in their attempt to spite you.
This happens in the case of parental alienation. When a co-parent decides to ruin your relationship with your child, they harm both of you. Because of that, you want to keep an eye out for early signs.
Outward and internal changes
Psychiatric Times discusses parental alienation and how it manifests in the early stages. The most obvious signs come from how your child behaves in general. You can also see it in how they act toward and around you in specific.
In general, children respond to the abusive tactics used in parental alienation in different ways. But many either direct their negative emotions outward or inward. If directing them outward, children often grow easily irritated and lash out at others. They may reject authority figures and struggle to get along with peers.
When directing inward, they may seem glum and despondent. They could struggle with feelings of guilt, inadequacy and self-doubt. This may make them withdraw from others.
Hostility toward you
Most children suffering from parental alienation turn against the alienated parent. They might suddenly start refusing to visit or spend time with you. When around you, they make it clear they do not want to be there. They may have complaints about everything you do. This might ease as they spend time with you, but will worsen again after they leave your care.
If you notice these issues, consider contacting a legal professional. They can help you handle this situation.