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There are two types of alienation: real and that fabricated as an excuse for abuse. Sadly, real alienation is not uncommon in divorce as one parent may have no idea that a child needs both of its parents. When this occurs for real, the resources of the court in rectifying the situation are fairly limited as just changing a visitation schedule won’t resolve the problem.
When a child is angry with someone who has been cruel or abusive, this does not reflect alienation (or solely alienation) but a problem in the relationship. Too many times children who complain of mistreatment are ignored, or worse, their time with the non-abusive parent is cut down.
When alienation is alleged, a factual investigation of the matter should occur. One should not assume that just because a child speaks negatively of one parent, it is the other parent’s fault. Families vary, and each one’s situation should be carefully examined.
There are names short of “alienator” such as “gatekeeper” with which the favored parent may be branded. These issues, too, must be factually investigated. Did one parent “gatekeep” so the other parent couldn’t be involved, or did both of the parents agree to a division of labor where one earned the income while the other was with the child?
Avoiding labels and stereotypes is particularly important when these issues are raised.