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How to Avoid Unintentionally Alienating Your Children From Their Other Parent

Parents going through a divorce always try to make decisions that are in the best interest of the children. Despite these efforts, it does not change the fact that post-divorce co-parenting is difficult.  Parents are humans that make mistakes too. These mistakes can cause anxiety and pain on the part of the children. In turn, parents end up regretting later. In order to avoid causing unnecessary pain of parental alienation, we suggest the following specific actions below:

Avoid speaking negatively about the other parent.

Divorced spouses have their reasons for why they took the path of separation. A long list of grievances usually comes along with it. However, these things do not need to be shared with your children as much as possible. Speaking negatively about your former spouse and/or your former in-laws can create complicated feelings on the part of your children. This is also applicable even if abuse was present in your relationship and the children witnessed such abuse first-hand. Seeking the help of a therapist who specializes in child development can help your situation. A therapist will guide you on how to talk to your children regarding the circumstances. 

Keep the details of your divorce from your children.

Your children, no matter how close you are with them, are not your confidant and best friend. They should not be involved in any part of the divorce; event to all the difficulties and pain you may go through during the divorce.

Never pressure your children to choose sides.

It is still possible for children to love both equally, although differently after the divorce. However, children should not be put in a situation where they feel like they need to choose between their parents. Having a healthy relationship with both parents can result in children becoming better persons. As adults, they will realize the actions and decisions their divorced parents had to make for a healthy family relationship. They will use that as a standard for their own families.

Be the bigger person.

If your former spouse is alienating you from your children, show your good qualities by actions. Do not seek revenge by speaking ill about the other parent. If they ask questions about the other parent, give an honest answer without oversharing the details of the divorce. This is to avoid distress on the children’s part. 

Persuade your child to build and maintain a good relationship with the other parent.

Respecting someone does not mean you still have to love them. Human decency dictates giving respect to others as much as you can, and this includes respecting your former spouse so your children would also have the same respect for them. If your children speak negatively about your former spouse, try to know what caused this and make sure to give a response that will result in helping to patch things up between the children and the other parent. 

Source: How to Avoid Unintentionally Alienating Your Children From Their Other Parent

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Mr. Hutton is a Divorce and Custody Lawyer based out of Round Rock, TX. His background is with child psychology at Arizona State University where he received a B.S. in 2006, and he continued this by working with the Children’s Right’s Clinic at the University of Texas School of Law where he received his J.D. in 2009. Throughout his practice, he has been a strong proponent of utilizing modern technology to improve his practice and the representation of his clients. He currently is the technology chair of CAFA of Travis County and is committed to improving and modernizing the practice of law in Texas. If you have any questions you can contact him at

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