Parents can have negative feelings against each other for a number of interpersonal and other reasons. However, it’s crucial that these feelings do not affect how you care for your children. If you talk negatively about your co-parent to your children, the court may believe this to be parental alienation. If you are being accused of parental alienation or suspect that your co-parent is engaging in this behavior, it’s important to work with an Omaha child custody attorney.

During the process of divorce or separation, children frequently have a difficult time adjusting. This may present itself in many ways, depending on the child’s age, personality, and the relationship between parents. When parents have a very contentious relationship, this has an adverse effect on children. In some cases, children can turn against one or both parents for no reason other than their negative feelings about the separation. In other cases, parental alienation is present.

What Is Parental Alienation?

Parental alienation involves one parent trying to convince their child to fear, hate, or dislike the other parent. This is often done with the objective of securing more custody by gaining the child’s preference, and it can also happen due to spite or resentment against the other parent. Parental alienation typically includes manipulation and isolation of the child, which has long-term negative consequences for the child’s mental health.

Parental alienation syndrome (PAS) can occur as part of a child’s natural reaction to the separation of their parents. However, the issue occurs when the reaction is encouraged or instilled because of the other parent’s actions. When a parent engages in parental alienation, they are harming the entire family, especially their child. If you believe that your child is being affected by parental alienation, it’s important to talk to an attorney about the right time to involve the court.

Recognizing Parental Alienation

You may be able to discover evidence of alienation in behaviors exhibited by an alienating parent and those demonstrated by your child. Signs that a parent may be attempting to alienate your child against you could include:

  • Disrespecting you in front of your child and undermining your parental authority
  • Planning fun things for your child to do when you are supposed to pick them up
  • Telling your child that you do not love them
  • Falsely accusing you of serious acts, like child abuse or domestic violence
  • Blaming you for the divorce or separation
  • Oversharing about the divorce with a child
  • Getting your child to avoid visitation or custody with you
  • Otherwise interfering with your custody and visitation
  • Suggesting that a child must choose between their parents
  • Limiting or preventing communication between you and your child

Unfortunately, many of an alienating parent’s behaviors occur when you are not there. It may be necessary to instead look at a child’s behaviors. Some signs that your child may be suffering parental alienation could include your child:

  • Showing sudden anger or fear of you without a clear cause
  • Rejecting spending time with you or talking with you, even when you make attempts to connect
  • Rejecting any gifts from you
  • Acting very differently after time with the other parent
  • Making false claims about you and believing that they are factual
  • Making negative statements about you
  • Showing no remorse or regret for acting this way
  • Assuming that the other parent can do nothing wrong
  • Spying on you for the other parent
  • Mimicking the language or beliefs of the other parent

When these behaviors are manufactured by the other parent, they will be more extreme immediately after the other parent’s visitation period. One way you could help avoid parental alienation is by ensuring that you have clear and open communication with your child through the process of separation. If that does not avoid this problem, it can instead help you notice the changes in your child’s behavior.


Q: How Do You Prove Narcissistic Parental Alienation?

A: How you prove narcissistic parental alienation will depend on your unique situation. Potential evidence that parental alienation is occurring includes:

  • Statements from a mental health professional, counselor, or other individual who can speak to the effect on your child
  • Witnesses to the other parent’s alienating behavior
  • Online posts or communications with the other parent that demonstrate their behavior

You can work with an attorney during your divorce or custody case to more effectively determine how to prove parental alienation.

Q: What Does Parental Alienation Look Like?

A: Parental alienation may look like many actions by a co-parent and many behaviors exhibited by a child. Some of these include:

  • The other parent uses guilt or manipulation to turn the child against a parent.
  • The child has an irrational and unexpected hatred or fear of one parent.
  • The child seems to mimic negative statements made by the other parent about a parent.
  • The child’s negative behavior is stronger after spending time with the other parent.
  • The child believes lies about a parent as if they are facts.

Q: Is Parental Alienation Illegal in Nebraska?

A: Parental alienation is handled in civil court in Nebraska, so it is, therefore, not illegal in a criminal sense. However, it may be considered child abuse, depending on the situation. Nebraska law lists the reasons why a parent’s custody may be restricted, which includes child abuse or interfering with the other parent’s custody. Whether parental alienation will be considered abuse or interference will depend on the severity of the parent’s actions and the unique circumstances of the situation. An attorney can help you navigate this problem.

Q: Does Parental Alienation Backfire?

A: Yes, parental alienation backfires, often in many different ways. If the court discovers a preponderance of evidence of parental alienation, it may consider this to be child abuse and alter custody determinations accordingly. It is also significantly damaging to a child’s mental well-being and their relationship with the other parent, and it can cause long-term psychological harm.

It also backfires because, when the child grows up and becomes aware of the emotional abuse they suffered, they are likely to cut all contact with the alienating parent.

Managing Parental Alienation in a Child Custody Case

The family court decides on child custody based on a child’s interests. Many courts believe that parental alienation is emotional abuse, and this can impact the outcome of a custody arrangement. Contact the skilled attorneys at Stange Law Firm to see how we can help with your custody case.