Children may become collateral damage during a Massachusetts divorce. If they feel caught between parents embroiled in a contentious uncoupling, they may suffer long-term psychological effects.

In some cases, children become victims of parental alienation. This psychologically inflicted condition occurs when one parent manipulates the children into rejecting the other parent. Learn about some of the signs that a parent’s actions rise to those of parental alienation and abuse.

Children align with the alienating parent

Conflict may continue between parents after divorce, equating to disagreements. Children exposed to alienating behavior from a parent may defend that parent to the other. The arguments set forth by the children often sound too mature for their minds to formulate. This happens when the alienating parent talks openly to children about the conflict and convinces them to take their side. The children align with the alienating parent and dismiss the other.

Children do not identify the alienating parent

When children who once had a close relationship with a parent begin to withdraw, act out and express dislike after divorce, the alienating parent becomes the logical source. Children may outright reject any notion that one parent plays any role in their decision to separate from the other. In their minds, the alienated parent caused these negative feelings, even though they may not give pertinent examples. The parent feeding the negative feelings towards the other may play innocent, claiming the children have the will to decide for themselves.

Children who become victims of parental alienation may actively destroy their relationship with the other parent. Doing this may prove to permanently change the psyche of the children and the alienated parent alike if intervention does not occur.