Divorcing Parents Turn to ‘Brainwashing’ Children in Custody Battles

children in custody battles

During the pandemic, many couples got divorced because of financial stress and other pressures that pushed them to the brink of their relationships. This has also revealed a lot of potential issues for other married couples.

Not only are people getting divorced but marriage rates are going down as people look towards the future. However, the process of divorce is not simple.

Children in custody battles are affected the most. They have to learn to adapt to new family setups and dynamics after being used to their home environment.

Partners start to wonder how to win a custody battle and they hire custody battle lawyers. Women worry about how a mother can lose a custody battle. Whereas fathers stress over custody battles often favoring the mother.

Ultimately, things can go wrong in a child custody battle and partners may try to turn the child against the other parent. 

It is important to know about what signs to look out for, how to protect your child, and how to create a new normal for your family. 

This article will prepare you for facing this challenge and how to navigate the difficult process of custody battles.

Divorce and Why It Happens

When you meet someone and fall in love you start imagining your life together. Where you’ll live, what house you will have, and all the special memories you’ll create in the future.

It all seems like a dream, until, you wake up one day and realize you do not want to be with your partner anymore. 

No one ever thinks it will happen to them and they wonder, why did this happen?

Divorce happens for many reasons depending on the situation, but there are some common reasons why people choose to separate. 

1. Differences

Even if you believe you have found the person you want to spend the rest of your life with, there might be some differences between the both of you that can cause trouble later on. 

At first, you may ignore them but after time they could start causing a lot of arguments and resentment in your relationship. These differences could include, children, goals, and religion. 

2. Finances

Being with someone is about more than just sharing a house, it means sharing finances and budgeting for your living expenses. Ultimately, people view money differently and this might create tension in your marriage. 

For instance, you could disagree about saving, spending, and sharing money with others. 

3. Communication 

In any relationship, especially marriage, talking is key to creating trust and intimacy. Even though communication brings you closer together, it can also push you further apart if you do not express your thoughts effectively. 

If you have communication problems, you will end up avoiding each other and not discussing important issues. 

4. Abuse 

Some people divorce their partners because they are victims of abuse. This involves physical as well as verbal abuse and can lead to someone wanting to leave their spouse. 

In this case, divorce is the only way to remove yourself from a dangerous situation and create a better life for yourself. 

These are a few of the most common reasons why people divorce, however, there are many more other issues that mean couples need to separate. 

Even though divorce is primarily between two partners, if you have children together it becomes even more complicated. Divorce leaves a lifelong mark on a child and they can suffer from emotional problems.

How Children in Custody Battles Are Affected

The way a child is affected by divorce varies from family to family. It all comes down to age, environment, and personality. Some children find the transition after separation harder than others. 

In those situations, the child can experience difficulties in school and emotional distress.

So, how are children in custody battles affected? 

Poor Grades

One of the first signs that your child is having a hard time adapting to your family’s separation is their school grades. This is because the change can make them feel confused and distracted from their studies. 

Children get used to routine and familiarity so when there is a big shift in their daily lives, it becomes more difficult for them to focus on tasks. 

Social Withdrawal

As well as school, children can remove themselves from friendship groups and withdraw from socializing. They can find it hard to relate to people and communicate their feelings when their parents are divorcing. 

When you are young, you feel alone with your problems as you are not aware that other people can have similar experiences. Meaning, children feel as if their family is the only one falling apart.

Therefore, they begin to withdraw into their own world and avoid others. 

Emotional

Some children are more sensitive than others, and they may react strongly to divorce because they are trying to process the change. The consequence of this is they start showing other emotional signs of stress. 

For example, they could become:

  • Anxious
  • Angry
  • Irritable
  • Depressed

It is important to watch out for these behaviors as they might be signs that your child is having trouble adapting to your divorce.

Self-Destructive Behavior

If your child is older, they might begin getting involved in more dangerous and risky behaviors such as substance abuse and sexual activity. Studies show that children from divorced parents are more likely to break the law.

For instance, research shows that they drink alcohol earlier, and begin smoking tobacco and using drugs too. 

Children can be damaged by divorce in many ways, but sometimes, the effects are not only by consequence but they can be inflicted by the parent.

What does this mean?

Well, on some occasions, the parents may try to turn the child against the other parent to have better chances of winning a custody battle. 

Parent alienation syndrome coined by Dr. Richard A. Gardner in the 1980s is the term used when a parent tries to turn the child against their other parent. 

If the relationship does not end friendly there might be some festering resentment between the two parents. Then, the angry parent tries to convince the child that the other parent is the cause of their divorce.

Signs of Parent Alienation

When your partner is trying to brainwash your child into believing you are the reason for the family falling apart, there are a few signs you can look out for. This way, you can intervene before they influence your child even more. 

1. Negative Memories

Your child might only remember negative memories from their childhood or past family events. This means they do not have positive associations with their alienated parent and further distance themselves from that parent. 

Even if you remind them of certain memories, they will deny it and convince you it was different. 

2. Avoidance

Does your child keep avoiding visits? Do they tell your excuses to get out of a planned event together?

Well, this could be another sign that your spouse is trying to alienate you. This is evidence that they are trying to ignore you and might be getting told by the other parent to stay away from you. 

3. Mimic Behavior

You might begin noticing some similarities in your child’s behavior and your ex-partner’s. This could be as simple as repeating phrases or coping opinions that your ex-partner shared. 

When a child becomes brainwashed they start to mimic the parent’s behavior and start to get confused with their own thoughts. This means they form a robotic response when communicating with you. 

As well as this, they take on the stress of your divorce and get caught up in the middle of your tension with your partner. 

4. Ignore Your Advice

As a parent, there are times when you have to give advice and guidance to your child to help them overcome a problem.

However, when your child is ignoring you and only listening to your spouse this is another sign of alienation. Especially after a custody battle when you need to assert yourself individually as a parent. 

This is extremely difficult as your child does not respect your rules or decisions and constantly resists authority. 

5. Dislike Your Interests

Of course, when children grow up it is normal to break away from your parents and discover your own hobbies and interests. But, sometimes, your child ends up liking the same things as you. 

This means you form a bond over common interests and become friends as well as parents.

This is what everyone dreams of, right?

That being said, in some instances your child may start hating everything you like and loses interest in all your passions. As well as this, they could also begin avoiding your family and friends. 

They could begin disliking grandparents, family friends, or neighbors simply because they have a connection to you. 

Although all of these signs can be challenging when you a filing for divorce, there is hope for finding a solution and ensuring that your child does not suffer. 

How to Have a Happy Divorce

Statistics show that 40%-50% of marriages end in divorce, so there are many times when parents need to navigate divorce. If this is you, then you need to know the best ways to help your child adapt to their new normal.

First, you have to consider how you talk about the divorce…

Talk About Your Feelings

It is important to encourage your child to talk about their feelings and emotions about the divorce. They need to feel safe and secure when discussing it so they can open up about any problems they are feeling.

No matter what time they need to talk, you should be ready to listen! 

Embrace Changes

You can read all the information available about children and divorce but nothing prepares you for the moment you have to face it in real life. 

That is why embracing changes in your child is essential in helping them process the news. They might act out of character or withdraw so you need to be ready to adjust accordingly. 

Organize

When it comes to the logistics of divorce and shared custody, there are practical ways you can provide stability to your child. 

Gill Ruidant was once faced with the challenge of organizing custody of a child after divorce. He founded the company 2houses after realizing that there were very few tools to help parents manage the separation…

2houses is a platform aimed at supporting parents through the process of divorce by providing information and access to features such as a calendar, journal, finances, and messages. 

All of which are there to support you so you can continue to look after your child in the best possible way

Be Gentle to Yourself

Being a parent is not just about looking after your child, you need to make sure you are being kind and gentle with yourself. Plus, if you show emotions to your child they will feel more comfortable showing theirs. 

This openness can really help your child understand why you got divorced and comprehend the future without both parents together. 

Ideally, you and your partner can work on this together and give your child a stable setup even if you are no longer in a relationship. Just because you break up does not mean that there needs to be tension. 

If you explain to your child why it happened and reassure them that it is not their fault, then when they grow up they will be able to sympathize with your decision and forgive you for any issues it caused. 

Things Can Be Better Apart

Although we all wish that life would have a happy ending, life can throw things at us that we do not expect. When it comes to children in custody battles, you need to be aware of some complications that can happen.

Now that you have all the information you need to identify signs of parent alienation, you will be able to avoid this happening to your child. 

Then, you can focus on making the transition smooth and comfortable for your kid. Take a look at these excellent tips and useful tools for making sure your future is happy and peaceful. 

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