July 17

How to Handle an Alienated Child on Your Parenting Time

Co-Parenting, custody, Effective Communicaton, Parental Alienation, parenting, single parenting


Do I get asked what do I do when my child has been alienated from me? I still get them on my parenting time however they are horrible to me, constantly on the phone with their other parent, and they destroying my things and my home. When I ask my children to put their cell phones down or away, they scream at me and tell me it is illegal for me to take their phones or to tell them what to do with their phones, they have a right to talk with their other parent, whenever they want. My children never behaved this way prior to our divorce and progressively, over the past couple of months, they have turned into animals. Just yesterday my 13-year-old daughter said to me, “Why don’t you just give up? You are never going to win in court, you never have and you never will. I hate you”

HELP! What do I do?

Well, you have come to the right place, The first thing to do is, of course, take a deep breath, and know that she really does not hate you. When we look at this clients question we can see that there are a couple of problems she is trying to solve.

1. Her children’s rude behavior towards her and her property and

2. the constant contact from the favored parent. I will address both issues separately.

When you are dealing with an alienated child, all normal parenting goes right out the window. trying to convince them they are wrong, that they have been coached and even trying to defend yourself does not work.

So let’s address her first issue and then her second.

1. When your alienated child is out of control and they make bold statements like what is happening in court, simply say to them, “I can see that you are upset, I want you to know that no matter what happens or how you behave I will always love you. I do want you to understand that I may not be perfect all the time, I will always do what I feel is in your best interest. When you behave the way you are behaving, it reflects poorly on your (dad or mom) and could actually get them in trouble with the judge, in court. I know you do not want your other parent to get into trouble. I can’t control your behavior only you can, you can decide to behave appropriately or not. Whatever you chose I will always love you.”

Now here is the tricky part. BE QUIET. No more responding, explaining and pleading. Simply speak your peace and move on. Alienated children will do whatever it takes to protect the favored parent. This is counter-intuitive but it works.

If it does not work the first time repeat and then does the alternative, which, works like magic is to simply, not respond. This is also counter-intuitive. We are always trying to teach our children right from wrong and the appropriate way to treat other people. In a normal situation that works, however with alienated children you are in a whole different ballgame.

2. What do you do when the child is in constant communication with the other parent and won’t give up their phone? I see rejected parents constantly afraid of what would happen if they actually parented, this happens mainly because most parents swing from permissive parenting style to authoritarian parenting styles out of fear and frustration. Stop the madness, by sitting the children down and having “your attorney” speak to your children and explain to them, via the speaker phone, they are to give you their cell phones and that you will be keeping them for the duration of their time with you and they will get them back at the time they will be returning to the other parents home. Have you attorney explain to them that, the court has ordered the parenting time and that time is to be spent with the parent uninterrupted so that they have the opportunity to spend time with each parent. Have your attorney explain that they are not in trouble and they can call their other parent, from your cell phone or the house phone, if they need to speak to the other parent and have your attorney say to the children, “now please hand your phones over to your mom/dad now, it is important to comply with the court orders so that your other parent does not get into trouble with the judge. POWERFUL!  and it works.

Now some of you may be thinking, “I was told not to talk to the kids about what happens in court, or about the fact that we are in court, well under normal circumstances, I would agree, however, these children already know about court, and they have most likely heard a very skewed version of what the other parent wants them to believe. As you read these children told their mother to give up and she was going to lose in court like she always does.

Armed with these tools, you can restore calm in your home and give your children the opportunity to relax and have fun with you, without the constant barrage of text messages and phone calls from the favored parent, which keeps the child, unstable. The cell phone is the favored parent’s new weapon, it is time to be bold, firm, and loving. Using these methods gives your children the opportunity to be children and they can’t be children if they are constantly under fire (attack) from the favored parent who will not give them a break.

Remember, you are also their parent. Traditional parenting styles do not work, while the child is under the influence of alienation, and so you must arm yourself with new conscious ways of being a parent so that you can empower your children to be the best people they can be in the world.

Try it and see what happens. Post a comment or ask your own question, let me know how it worked out for you.

Create an AMAZING day!


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custody, divorce, high conflict, parental alenation syndrome, Parental Alienation

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  1. But what do you do when the children won’t even communicate? These are my husband’s children, ages 8 and 14. They won’t make eye contact. They routinely refuse to answer questions or sometimes even acknowledge that they are being spoken to. They refuse to come into our house, although they won’t give any reason as to why, and will insist on only sitting on our front porch. They refuse all attempts to take them anywhere fun or do anything fun (movies, playing games, amusement parks, etc.) to try to create a positive experience – their mother has told them that movie theaters are too loud and will damage their hearing, and that amusement parks are full of germs and that there’s nothing there kids their age would enjoy. All they will accept is to be fed at a restaurant or if a gift is being bought for them. They’ve made it clear they’d rather not come at all, but that they know the court will make them. Visits are long, dreary, and mostly silent, although we try very hard to draw them out. They will occasionally lighten up briefly, but then always revert quickly to not interacting. They are also homeschooled and kept very isolated, so even things we can ask about in their lives are very limited. Everyone tells me, “Make it fun when they’re with you, so they’ll see the alienating things they’re being told aren’t true,” but how can you do that, when they refuse to interact or do anything fun?

  2. This is playing with fire. Yes, you can abuse the attorney privilege as such however the same game may be played by the other parent’s attorney so that removal of the phone is not allowed. This holds especially true when the alienating parent has full custody and the targeted parent has no parental rights (ie is not allowed to determine anything in the child’s best interest including restricting any form of communication from the other parent, whom usually has false allegations of abuse further arguing the immediate need for a phone to “make sure the child is safe”).
    Also, you must keep in mind that the parent who purchased and pays the cell phone bills ultimately has the legal right to do as he/she pleases. If this is you, you are in luck and may purchase a plan that blocks all calls/texts from the other parent. If not then you will not have much choice other than an attempt to unwillingly confiscate the kids’ phones. But be prepared to be attacked legally!

  3. Thank you for educating us those positive responses with the kids. I really could use them to help with our circumstance. What do I do and say when my 13 years old son being totally alienated me, keeps hiding in his room and locking up the door, demanding for privacy, refuse to go out or come out to eat, and yelling to leave him alone…
    I’m his mother and we had a great relationship up to about 6 months ago….

  4. My younger son, 14 at the time, was threatening to not come over any more, a year after my older son quit coming. I used this with him in the car when I picked him up one day. He had been refusing to even look out the front window of the car, only out the passenger window. I stopped the car and got genuine concern in my voice and told him that I didn’t want anyone to get in trouble with the judge (he had already been told about a custody court case), including his other parent, and that we had a signed agreement that the judge had approved and that we could all get in trouble if we didn’t go by it. He stopped saying anything and never brought it up again. I think the thing about not wanting to get his other parent in trouble was a key to helping him follow the rules. Two years later and we’ve never had a problem with it since.

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