What does parental alienation look like in pre-teens?

On Behalf of | Mar 26, 2024 | Parental Alienation

Parental alienation happens when a child doesn’t want to be with one parent (the “rejected” parent) and strongly prefers the other parent (the “favored” parent). People often think this only happens when there’s been child abuse or domestic violence.

But that’s not the only time it can happen. It can occur in all sorts of situations, even during seemingly amicable separations, and is particularly noticeable in pre-teens aged nine to thirteen.

Signs of parental alienation

When pre-teens are dealing with parental alienation, they might:

  • Not want to spend time with the rejected parent
  • Strongly prefer to be with the favored parent
  • Avoid a parent even though that parent hasn’t done anything wrong

Every child is different. But the fact is that kids between the ages of 9 and 13 are often more affected by parental alienation than kids in other age groups. Not only is this devastating for the affected parent, but it’s also harmful to the pre-teen since it can affect their emotional well-being and social development as they grow up.

What the affected parent can do

In Florida, the focus in any divorce case involving children is the ‘best interests of the child.’ If a parent believes the other parent is alienating their child, there are steps they can take to help. For example, they can get help from a therapist. The therapist can help the rejected parent and the child work through their feelings and build a healthier relationship. Therapy sessions can help the child see the parent’s point of view and find ways to improve their relationship.

But sometimes, therapy isn’t enough. In severe situations, like when a child persistently refuses to talk or interact with the rejected parent, it might be necessary to ask for a custody evaluation. A custody evaluator can assess the family situation and recommend time-sharing schedules to the court.

Considering legal help to fight for your child

Re-assessing the time-sharing arrangement might be necessary to ensure it serves the child’s best interests and addresses parental alienation issues. Children are easily influenced, whether that’s positively or negatively. But with the right help and actions, it’s possible to save your relationship with your child.

Consider seeking a legal professional during the evaluation process to uphold your rights as a parent and what’s best for your child.