Examples of Parental Alienation, part 8

by admin on October 8, 2010

Do you sympathize with your child and offer false choices?
When your child brings up an issue with your ex, do you “sympathize” with the child and then say, “BUT you HAVE to listen to your mother/father.”  This reinforces their positive view of you, and reinforces the negative view of the Target.  This drives just a little wedge in there.  One parent really hears me (and fans the flames but the child doesn’t notice, s/he just sees agreement), the other does not.  This is alienation.  Sympathizing validates the concerns even when they are unreasonable.
One example concerned a mother (but similar things have been done by fathers).
The mother had the perfect “in” because men often try “to fix” issues instead of only listening.  If the child brings up an issue that they discussed with the father, the mother would feign just being curious and say “Oh, did your dad listen to you OR try to fix it?”  99 times out of 100 a Dad will have offered a solution even if he listened the entire time, but she had set up a false choice between “listening vs trying to fix it.”  Even though the Dad listened and tried to fix it, she switched it so the child remembered the fixing part and the not listening part.  Obviously offering a solution required listening, but the mother was alienating the child by giving false choices.  The parent was setting up the Target as a parent who “won’t listen to you.”
When the children said “I couldn’t talk to dad about” some subject, she emphasized that she, herself, had trouble talking to her dad about things too, but it is okay.  This encouraged the child to make no effort to communicate on that topic and then on other topics as the time passed.

The father couldn’t understand what was going on until it was pointed out that this was alienating behavior.

Continued in Examples of Parental Alienation, Conclusion

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