Divorce can be extremely difficult for everyone in your family. While you and your ex-spouse must figure out how to adjust to a new way of life, you must also prioritize the mental and emotional health of your shared child. If a co-parent attempts to sabotage your parent-child relationship, you must act quickly to protect your parental rights.

In Oklahoma, family law judges consider the best interests of the child when deciding custody matters. Typically, parental alienation is not in any child’s best interests. This occurs when one parent makes a child fear or dislike the other parent. To protect the relationship you have with your son or daughter, watch for these four signs of parental alienation:

  1. Negative comments 

Even though your ex-spouse may have negative feelings about you, he or she should not discuss such emotions with your child. Doing so may have significant emotional consequences. While you may expect the occasional slip-up, a pattern of disparaging comments is likely evidence of parental alienation.

  1. Undercut authority 

As a parent, you enjoy broad authority to raise your kid as you see fit. This includes both teaching and discipline. If your former spouse undercuts your authority, though, he or she may be trying to interfere with the relationship you have with your son or daughter.

  1. Usurped parenting 

Similar to undercut authority, usurped parenting is common in parental alienation. This occurs when your former spouse encourages your child to act as his or her own parent. If your ex-spouse gives your child complete decision-making authority, you may be dealing with unacceptable behavior.

  1. Substituted parenting 

Your ex-spouse may try to eliminate you completely from your child’s life. One way to do this is to exclude you from important activities, such as parent-teacher conferences or social events. Your former spouse may also try to substitute a new person for you.

Parental alienation may have long-term emotional consequences for your son or daughter. It may also cause you to experience tremendous hardship. Therefore, you must understand parental alienation and actively fight against it.