While some former couples are able to part ways within minimal conflict involved, others find that their splits lead to long, contentious battles. If your divorce was particularly acrimonious and you and your ex share a child together, you may have legitimate concerns about your ex attempting to turn your son or daughter against you. 

According to Psychology Today, parental alienation is something that occurs when one parent tries to undermine the relationship that exists between his or her child and the other parent. While parental alienation may damage the relationship between a parent and a child, it may also impact a child’s well-being, potentially impacting him or her well into adulthood. 

How parental alienation harms children 

Most scholars and psychologists agree that parental alienation is a form of child abuse, albeit one that many people overlook. Children who experience parental alienation tactics during childhood typically grow up to have lower self-esteem than their peers. They are also more likely to exhibit signs of self-hatred, and they are also statistically more likely to struggle with trusting other people. 

Additional negative effects 

Kids subjected to parental alienation during their youth are also more likely to struggle with depression or substance abuse disorders in adulthood. Children who grow up in these conditions are also more likely to have detached relationships with their own offspring down the line. 

When a parent engages in parental alienation tactics, he or she may do so in an effort to “get back at” the other parent. However, it is typically the shared child who winds up suffering the most.