In any parent-child relationship, there are regular highs and lows. Over time, though, you have the opportunity to help your child grow into a well-adjusted adult. Still, if you share parenting duties with a former spouse, you may face some unique challenges. For example, your ex-partner may try to undercut your authority or otherwise turn your kids against you. Doing so is rarely in the best interests of your children, however. 

Parental alienation is a serious matter in Illinois. This happens when one parent attempts to ruin the other parent’s relationship with his or her children. Clearly, because parental alienation can wreak havoc on the mental and emotional well-being of your kids, you must understand both how to identify it and how to stop it. 

Identifying parental alienation 

Because parental alienation can come in a variety of forms, identifying it can be somewhat difficult. Still, any words or actions that interfere with your relationship with your kids have the potential to be alienating. While the following list is not exhaustive, here are some common examples of parental alienation: 

  • Falsely accusing a co-parent of abuse, neglect or other reprehensible actions 
  • Asking the children not to communicate with a co-parent 
  • Telling the kids untrue or disparaging information about the other parent 
  • Interfering with the co-parent’s ability to see the children 

Stopping parental alienation 

If your former partner engages in parental alienation, your kids may begin to dislike, distrust or downright despise you. Even worse, they may suffer long-term emotional trauma. If you suspect your ex-spouse is trying to damage your relationship with your kids, you must carefully document the parental alienation. You may also have to ask a judge to modify an existing parenting order. 

Your relationship with your children is one of the more consequential ones you are likely ever to have. As such, you must work diligently to protect it from an alienating co-parent. By understanding how to identify and stop parental alienation, you boost your chances of getting the most out of your parent-child relationship.