The warning signs of parental alienation

Co-parenting with a former partner is never easy, particularly when that relationship has soured and/or if there is a history of abuse or infidelity.

It can be hard to keep the focus on the well being of the children involved, without dragging personal vendettas and unresolved trauma into the mix.

But it seems too often children are becoming the victims of parental alienation.

Parental alienation occurs when one parent deliberately damages or even severs the relationship between a child and the other parent.

This is a violation of children’s rights and is now officially recognised by the World Health Organisation as a "caregiver-child relationship problem".

Advocate of the High Court and member of the National Bar Council, Janine Boltman, says it's not always done deliberately, but the damage can be long-lasting.

It usually manifests itself where a parent focuses their attention on the anger, pain and hostility of the relationship with the other parent.

Janine Boltman, Advocate of the High Court and member of the National Bar Council

So what does South African law say about parental alienation?

It does not expressly state that parental alienation is prohibited but it does highlight the best interests of the child.

Janine Boltman, Advocate of the High Court and member of the National Bar Council

It highlights that children are to have a healthy relationship with both parents.

Janine Boltman, Advocate of the High Court and member of the National Bar Council

Boltman says engaging the services of professionals is essential in determining what is in the best interests of the child.

She also highlights some of the signs and effects of parental alienation on the child.

The child will suffer from severe anxiety and depression, they will express an attitude of hatred or disapproval of the parent they love and respected in the past.

Janine Boltman, Advocate of the High Court and member of the National Bar Council

Listen to the full interview below:


This article first appeared on CapeTalk : The warning signs of parental alienation


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