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How to deal with parental alienation

Parental alienation is the name for a situation in which one parent tries to turn a child against the other parent. There are several ways that estranged Texas couples may be able to recognize the syndrome, and they may also be able to take steps to decrease the influence of the other parent.

This situation is likely to happen when a parent suffers from a personality disorder. A child's behavior may change and become more oppositional. The child might request that the targeted parent stop attending school meetings or extracurricular activities. The child may no longer recognize good times shared with the targeted parent and might use language to denigrate that parent that the other parent has also used. However, the child may also insist that the other parent has played no part in this change in attitude and that it all comes from the child.

Often, in acting out against the targeted parent, children are showing they feel secure in that parent's love and insecure about the love of the other parent. A parent can respond to the child's behavior with love and firm boundary-setting. Parental alienation may start subtly. For example, a parent may try to extend a child's visit on the grounds that the child is sick or has too much homework to do.

In some cases, these can also be legitimate requests. Even parents who are committed to the best interests of the child may sometimes struggle with their own emotions when dealing with the other parent. Some potential conflicts may be anticipated and addressed in the parenting plan that parents create during the divorce, often with the assistance of their respective attorneys. However, a parent may want to discuss any concerns about the child's well-being with an attorney as well. If the child is in danger, the other parent may only get supervised visitation or have no access to the child.

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Bruce Turner

In addition to his law degree, Bruce Turner has a master's degree in tax law and is Board Certified in Commercial Real Estate Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.

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Bruce Turner with Bennett, Weston LaJone & Turner, P.C.

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