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Child custody: Parental alienation can poison a divorce

Many divorcing couples in Texas manage this traumatic time without acrimony, recognizing the impact a hostile court battle can have on children. When child custody issues are litigated in court, it could become a competition in which each parent wants to be the winner. It is not uncommon for one parent to feed a child with negative judgments against the other parent, causing alienation that can destroy the child's relationship with that parent.

A clinical psychiatry professor at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center said the phenomenon of parental alienation could be called divorce poison. He says this involves one parent maliciously denigrating the other parent's character to portray him or her as an insignificant person in the child's life, and unworthy of love. Research done at a university in another state indicates that over 22 million divorced parents nationwide may be alienated from their children.

Although there is no scientific evidence to prove that parental alienation causes mental disorders in children, it is often considered to be a type of psychological abuse. It has been said that children who have been brainwashed by vindictive parents to alienate them from the other parents are at a higher risk of developing depression, anxiety, substance abuse and other mental health issues. Researchers said that no parent should stop showering a child with love because it would be difficult for the other parent to turn that child against a loving parent.

Texas parents who are considering divorce may benefit from each retaining the services of an experienced family law attorney who can provide guidance and support throughout the proceedings. A lawyer can provide assistance during discussions about child custody and parenting plans. If necessary, an attorney can arrange for a qualified mediator to provide a platform for peaceful negotiations between the parents that may lead to agreements that will not jeopardize the children's relationship with either parent.

Source: parentherald.com, "Parental Alienation Latest News Updates: Why Parental Alienation Is Considered A 'Divorce Poison'", Kristine Walker, Sept. 11, 2016

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