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Kids resisting contact with parents post-divorce

On Behalf of | Jul 27, 2023 | Family Law

Children react differently when it comes to their parents splitting up. While some issues can be worked out post-divorce, some children make the decision to cut off all contact. The aftermath creates confusion and starts a blame game with parents and other family members.

Alienation and estrangement

The dynamic does little to help everyone affected by the divorce to move on. Mild cases see children with a certain level of contact or recent contact that eventually leads to rejection of the parent. In many situations, family counseling is an option for the favored parent, rejected parent, and the child. During this process, the favored parent can work proactively to reduce and eliminate behaviors that create alienation.

Conversely, the parent left rejected can also work with the child on future behaviors and minimize triggering defensiveness. Playing another form of the “blame game” can only undermine the healing process.

More severe cases involve zero contact with children angry at the parent without a valid reason. More common methods involve a time of intense activity with the rejected parent and temporarily pausing contact with the favored parent. Some may have already shown signs of facilitating alienating behavior that worsens a bad situation.

The favored parent should be available and engaged in counseling to put a stop to alienating behaviors. From there, family counseling can be an option as well. Individual therapy may not be the best option. Sessions may only facilitate more alienation due to children being continuously exposed to potentially alienating behavior that comes from the parent.

Every family member will react to divorce differently. Children, in particular, require the most focus to heal from decisions they have little say in.