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Louisiana family law: The 3 types of parental alienation

Not all divorce cases are amicable. Some spouses fight about everything during divorce proceedings and sometimes for years after the fact -- particularly if children are involved. One way some people try to punish their former spouses is by turning their children against them. This is called parental alienation, and sadly, it is commonly seen in Louisiana family law cases.

According to mental health specialists, there are actually three different types of parental alienation -- obsessive, naive and active. Obsessive alienation involves manipulating a child into wanting to discontinue his or her relationship with the other parent. Most young children do not understand when they are being manipulated; rather, they simply want to believe what their parent is telling them. For example, if dad says, in a compassionate way, mom is unstable and may hurt them, the child may want to believe that and will choose not to be around mom anymore.

Naive alienation involves using passive-aggressive comments to change a child's view of his or her other parent. Just like manipulation, younger children may not understand when a comment is made in a passive-aggressive way. They take the words said at face value. For example, if mom says something about dad making more money so he can buy the child whatever it is he or she is asking for and then dad does not purchase that thing, a child may not understand it when dad never buys what mom said he would. Passive-aggressive comments result in hurt feelings and damage to the parent-child relationship.

Finally, active alienation involves getting a child to feel a sense of loyalty toward one parent. The alienating parent may do this by asking a child to keep secrets from his or her other parent. As these secrets build up, the child may simply stop sharing general information about his or her life with the other parent in an effort to ensure he or she is not breaking promises made to the alienating parent.

Parental alienation destroys relationships. Parents in Louisiana who believe that they and their children are victims of this behavior do not have to stand for it. A family law attorney may be able to help them modify custody arrangements to put the kids in a better situation and hold the responsible party accountable for his or her actions.

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