tips for dealing with parental alienation

Rebuilding the Nurturing Connection Between Parent and Child: Tips for Overcoming Parental Alienation


If you are currently facing prolonged alienation or disconnection from your child, there’s no doubt you know just how painful it can be to feel isolated and left out of some of the most important moments in their lives. 

Parental alienation is, unfortunately, an all too prevalent phenomenon that occurs when one parent intentionally undermines or damages a child’s relationship with the other parent, often leading to emotional stress for both parties. As alienation drags on, it can become increasingly difficult to regain the relationship you once had and/or form a stable foundation for a future relationship. Facing parental alienation is one of the most painful things a loving parent can experience, and healing the divide between parent and child takes time, patience and understanding from both parents, as well as all children involved. 

At Pathways Family Coaching, we know just how devastating parental alienation can be. As reunification coaches, we’re passionate about helping to break the cycle of rejection and distance, and to help willing parties move forward with a happy, stable, and secure path for all. 

Below, we’ll explore some of the most important things for alienated parents to keep in mind when seeking to reconnect with their estranged child. Read on to learn more. 

Maintain Open Communication

Keeping the lines of communication open is essential to bridging the gap between yourself and your child. While it isn’t an easy task (especially if you have a narcissistic ex seeking to ruin your relationship), the harder you strive to create a safe, open space where your child feels free to express their feelings without judgment or ridicule, the easier it will eventually be to rebuild trust and connection. Whenever possible, find appropriate ways to reach out to your child, at their own speed and in their own “language”.

note: if your distance is the result of previous court orders, etc, it is crucial to follow all legal mandates first

Seek Professional Guidance

Parental alienation is hard, whether you’ve recently been cut off from your child or have been for many years. Knowing how to navigate the ups and downs of your current relationship and the normal fluctuations that occur as your child grows and develops can be incredibly overwhelming; without the right help, you run the risk of pushing your child even further away and creating a deeper rift. A neutral, trained third party can help to disassemble the many emotions involved in alienation and equip you with the tools, skills, and patience you need to be successful.

See: Healing Alienation with Parental Reunification

Show Consistent Love and Support

Consistency is crucial when attempting to rebuild trust and connection with your child. As much as it can be easy to focus on how much you are hurting, it’s important to remember that your child is feeling just as scared, confused, and alone as you are. Demonstrate your love and support with consistent actions that prove you’re willing to show up, do the work, and be a part of their lives, no matter what it takes. 

Avoid Negative Talk About the Other Parent

It can be difficult to speak well of your ex at times, especially if they’ve played a key role in your current alienation. With that being said, it is imperative that you foster a positive environment and refrain from speaking poorly about your child’s other parent in front of them. Even if you know that your ex is wrong, manipulative, and intentionally seeking to cause harm, your child cannot choose who their parents are. Negative remarks, visible animosity and constant parental conflict are surefire ways to push your child further away and often lead to increased feelings of guilt and confusion on their end. 

Acknowledge Their Feelings:

Feelings can be complicated to confront at any age, but for a child that has recently gone through a high-conflict separation of their parents (or remains in a volatile situation between two parties), it’s often even more difficult to process how they feel. Take the time to acknowledge, validate, and openly appreciate your child’s emotions and let them know that their feelings are understandable. 

Children often carry immense guilt following the breakdown of their parent’s relationship, and during such a vulnerable time can suffer from rapidly dwindling self-esteem. No matter how distant you may be right now, make sure you use every opportunity you get to let your child know that you’ll always be there to be their champion, listen, and build them up.

Be Patient

The unfortunate reality that many alienated parents don’t want to hear (understandably), is that reconciliation and rebuilding trust takes time. Never pressure your child into reconnecting immediately or try to force things to “go back to the way they were”. Doing so will severely damage any progress you’ve made thus far, and could permanently sever your connection. Prepare yourself for a long road built on flexibility and adaptability, and know that you’ll likely face many ups and downs along the way. Put in simpler turns: the harder and faster you try to push, the more likely you are to face failure that brings serious consequences for everyone involved. Take your time, go slow, and listen to everything your child says at every stage of the process. 

Educate Yourself About Parental Alienation:

Take the time to educate yourself about parental alienation, its causes, and its effects. Knowledge is power, and most importantly, can help you stay grounded while navigating such a deeply upsetting circumstance. Connecting with an experienced reunification team like Pathways Family Coaching is a great way to increase your understanding, equip yourself with more tools for success, and garner much-needed support and encouragement along the way. 

Our resources include: 

  • Ready to Reconnect is specifically designed to prepare you for reunification therapy, empower you to understand your role in reunification and support your child’s journey.
  • The Alienation Code can help you understand why you are being disconnected from your child so you can better combat it.
  • Pathways Through Conflict will help you develop the conflict management skills you need to handle your divorce well. It includes additional information on reunification therapy options.

Request a free consultation or contact us to learn more.

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