Parental alienation is a difficult issue to spot. Despite how strongly it can affect your child, you may not notice the warning signs until well after the alienating parent has made their first move.
In order to get the jump on this ploy, you need to understand what to keep an eye out for. In knowing the signs, you can act faster and help your child.
Behavioral red flags
Psychiatric Times lists potential warning signs of parental alienation. The more subtle signs often arise first, but you may miss them or write them off as something else. These changes often come in the form of behavioral differences. For example, a child may seem to withdraw from others. They could appear gloomy, depressed or upset. They might also struggle with feelings of guilt and self-blame.
For other children, their behavior may change in an angrier direction. They may lash out at others and reject their peers. They could behave aggressively toward figures of authority. They might seem easier to agitate and quick to get snappy.
Nitpicking and reluctance
Then, you want to look for smaller signs of reluctance at spending time with you. Does your child normally seem enthusiastic to go to your house, but their enthusiasm has dampened lately? Have they started to protest visitations? Pay attention to their criticism of you, too. Maybe they suddenly dislike a dish you make that they used to love. They might pick fights about the way you present your meals or even clean up after yourself.
All of these signs may point toward the possibility of parental alienation. You want to check with a legal professional to see what your next move should be.