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  • Writer's pictureSummers Family Law

Overcoming Parental Alienation: A Guide for Massachusetts Families

As an experienced Massachusetts family law attorney, I often see the devastating impacts of parental alienation on families. Parental alienation occurs when one parent manipulates a child to reject or fear the other parent without justification. This psychological manipulation is a form of emotional child abuse that can have severe consequences. In this blog post, I provide guidance on identifying signs of parental alienation and proactive steps families can take to maintain healthy parent-child relationships.


Recognizing Parental Alienation Tactics


Parental alienation involves one parent using various tactics to undermine the child's relationship with the other parent. Common alienating behaviors include:


  • Badmouthing the other parent

  • Limiting contact between the child and targeted parent

  • Interfering with communication

  • Forcing the child to choose sides


Additional warning signs in children include expressing unwarranted hatred, fear, or rejection of one parent. The child may parrot the alienating parent's false claims without reasonable justification.


Impacts on Children and Families


Studies show parental alienation puts children at higher risk for mental illness and strained family relationships. Children may experience lasting psychological distress, low self-esteem, depression, and trouble developing healthy relationships. Parental alienation also causes the targeted parent profound grief over losing a relationship with their child. And the alienating parent-child relationship also becomes disturbed over time.

Taking Proactive Steps


If you suspect parental alienation, taking prompt legal and therapeutic action is critical to mitigate damages. Key steps include:


  • Documenting alienating behaviors

  • Seeking counseling

  • Petitioning the court for sanctions or custody changes

  • Using reunification therapy


Taking a proactive approach gives families the best chance of overcoming alienation and healing damaged parent-child relationships. If you believe your child is suffering manipulation or estrangement, please reach out.


Disclaimer: The content provided in this blog is for informational and educational purposes only. It should not be construed as legal advice and readers should not act upon any information provided without seeking professional legal counsel. The author does not guarantee the completeness or accuracy of the information provided. This blog is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship between the author and the reader.

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