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Dealing with being the target of parental alienation
Hi All,

Just wanted to know if anyone has any advice on dealing with parental alienation. I have my final hearing next week and I've had limited access to my kids for the last year. In this time, my oldest of 3 girls is displaying what I feel are very clear signs of being alienated. She has just turned 7. Up until last Saturday, our relationship was really good and she enjoyed coming to my house. However, I know from my middle girl (4) she always tells her mum she doesn't have a nice time at Dads. I've put some examples below of what I believe are signs of alienation:

Example 1: Saturday
Court arranged access for last Saturday 12:00 - 17:30.
Mum tells me 3 days before that I have to change my allocated day to Sunday (the girls are having friends over for a sleepover on the Friday and they want a lazy day at home).
I refuse and say they can have a lazy day at mine.
Find out the day before (Friday) that actually the girls and Mum were planning to go to a party at 15:00 on Saturday.
I offer mum the option that I can take the girls. She refuses.
On the Saturday, I take the girls to my house and the oldest looks really upset and keeps telling me she's bored. She doesn't tell me but it's clear she thinks I'm stopping her going to the party. I explain that I'm happy to take her to the party but she tells my only her mum can take her.
Over the next couple of hours she starts to become very naughty to gain attention and when I tell her off she tells me I can't tell her what to do.
She then starts smacking her sisters so I send her to her room and tell her to stay there.
She's basically inconsolable for the rest of the contact and really upset.
After taking her home at 17:30, I get a text from her Mum claiming that I've locked her in her room by holding the handle and she doesn't want to come to my house again.

Example 2: Monday
I call the girls at 18:30 on a Wednesday as per our court order.
Youngest was asleep but had a nice chat with the older two (mum is in the background listening).
Just before putting the phone down, the oldest says 'Daddy I just have one more thing for you, I don't want to come to your house on Wednesday, Friday or Saturday anymore'.
I explain that I really want to see her and that we'll talk about it on Wednesday. It caught me by surprise and in hindsight, I could have handled this better over the phone.

Example 3: Wednesday
Went to pick the girls up from Mums house.
Youngest two came out fine and got straight into the car (as they always do).
Oldest was in hysterics saying that she didn't want to come to mine.
I tried to just put her in the car, but her mum was in the background telling me she was so upset at seeing all this. I told her to go into the house but she wouldn't.
Explained to daughter that I love her and kept asking her why she didn't want to come to dads. She didn't reply just said she wanted to be at home with her mum.
After trying for about 10 mins (in hindsight I shouldn't have tried for this long as the younger two were witnessing this) I finally said ok then you stay at home today and I'll see you Friday. 

All 3 girls still sleep with their mum which I believe is unhealthy and I've not been allowed to take the girls to any parties or clubs over the last year. I've watched some videos on YouTube and these seem to be signs of alienation.

These events have really hit me hard. My final hearing is next week and it's been a tough year. CAFCASS came down on my side and I've proposed 50/50 access. I believe Mum knows that she's up against it and is now trying underhand tactics which are damaging our girls.

Does anybody have any experience in dealing with this type of abuse? Should I contact social services about this?

What you are describing is normal ... well its not normal .. .its terrible but its normal for an alienating parent or a other with Malicious mother syndrome

I deal with the daily.. i don't know the answer but i do know my kids start to see it... ans they react in different ways. Eldest walks away from first sign of drama by his mother... youngest regresses and just shouts

You have the kids in your time, you have every right to take them to the party

Example 1. you need to get into that circle of friends so they invite you to the party... Hi, I'm dad and we co-parent our children (even if its not true) so pleas invite both of us to all parties in case it's my time with the girls. This is tough especially as all the other mums hate you due to what your ex tells them BUT you doing this for the kids... expect a lot of standing in corners alone watching your kids

Example 2 - bring this up in court ... kids shouldn't be saying that ... its from your ex's mouth.

Example 3 - again, mum needs to support her kids spending time with dad... not encouraging it the other way round

Your problem is ... to get shared access / custody, you need to be on good terms with the ex... judges don't like a ' hot situation' so raising anything now might be against you...

After you get 50:50 she will have to comply and that includes getting her kids ready to spend time with you
"Being a good father, for its own sake, does not require your ex to see it or agree"
Thanks very much for the feedback. I was in a bit of a state when posting.

You are right, once I do have more time with the girls I can then get into the circle of friends where the girls go instead of Mum acting like a barrier to these activities. I just hope these obvious effects on the kids will reduce in time. Some of the stuff I've seen on the internet regarding parental alienation and the damage it does to children is horrific.

I'll raise the comments on our phone conversation during our court hearing next week. I'm anxious though as something in the back of my mind is telling me she won't turn up for the final hearing to delay things further.

Thanks again for replying.
You should maybe just leave the older one behind if she doesn’t want to come without any drama and focus your efforts on the younger ones. If the younger ones have a great time with you they will feed that back to their sister and after a while she may feel left out and want to come.

If you buy the younger ones any gifts ensure you buy the eldest one something too so that they can give to her when they return home. This shows you care still and always let her know you love her and that she can come anytime she likes.

It may not be ideal but it will stop fraught handovers at least.
Try not to get angry if she doesnt want to come, just have a good time with the others for now.

On dropping them off maybe pass her a chocolate bar or little cake, (or give to sister to giver her).

It would be worse if you only had 1 daughter and she didn't want to come. so just plod on for now.
You have a final hearing next week. Just go with the flow until then. In the build up to that there will be all kinds of stress. I've just had a final hearing and throughout my application have highlighted parental alienation, but it was completely ignored and all that was focused on was arrangements, details for the order and some added bit about civil communication and any changes needing to be agreed.

So would advise you try and detach from what is happening with eldest right now - it will improve with a good schedule in place and some clear guidelines in an order. However, I think the wording of your final order needs to be spot on, whether you get 50/50 or not. Do you have a Solicitor or Barrister for final hearing? If not pm me.

Had severe alienation problems last year (and it did improve but then got worse again - am hoping it will improve again now clear order is in place). There was a book that really really helped with managing some of these behaviours your daughter had. Normal discipline goes out the window (it can reinforce the alienation) and you need to handle things slightly differently (temporarily at least). I carried this book around in my pocket for a while because it was absolutely spot on - and it did help.

Don't worry - even if your ex slags you off in her statement or claims daughter doesn't want to come or whatever. The most important thing is your statement. Where you can highlight your positive relationship and activities with the girls. You can counteract any of her accusations if you have evidence otherwise (eg if she says "he forced them to come and cancel a sleepover" and you have an email confirming you didn't cancel the sleepover but suggested they could relax afterwards at your house - then you can attach the email as an evidence exhibit).

Assume statements may already have been submitted now. Has bundle gone to court yet?

Your daughter is under stress and reacting to pressure. Sometimes the only way they can cope is to reject one parent to get the approval of the other one. But if this is the first time this has happened, then try not to worry. Children say all sorts and have then forgotten it again a few weeks later.

The most important thing is to keep them coming regularly and have us much time with them as you can and have complete normal, relaxed times with them without any discussions about what mum said or arrangements or anything - just carry on as if nothing has happened. That way they will soon see that time at Dad's is normal and relaxed and time at Mum's is full of negative stuff about Dad and stress. Avoid getting into any dialogue whatsoever with the kids about arrangements or their Mother and never say anything bad against their Mother. That's how you counteract it - by being the normal one. But the most important thing is keeping them coming.

I hope you get the 50/50 and yes expect all kinds of nasty things between now and the hearing. If you haven't submitted the bundle yet then some of these nasty things may help your case - keep all communication in writing (text or email).

This is the book. One of the authors is an expert on Parental Alienation in the US (Amy J Baker). My ex is a text book case I realised, after reading this - the tips on handling things are great. You can get the paperback or download the Kindle edition. But right now - focus on being prepared for the hearing!

This book is written by a Uk expert on parental alienation. I haven't read all of it but Chapter 8 is excellent on advising how to negotiate the court processes to get a good order.

Finally - I would not even mention parental alienation for your final hearing- it may come across as accusing the Mother and go against you. Focus on getting a good order first. You need to do these things in stages. Hopefully that situation will improve. And if not then look at measures for parental alienation. Apparently it is up to the court to decide whether there is parental alienation or not. Although I cited it in my application I didn't actually use the words "parental alienation" but did give examples with evidence.
It's sadly pretty normal for kids to get drawn into conflict pre-hearing. My eldest started saying how she didn't really want to stay at mine before the hearing, and how the CAFCASS officer had 'tricked' her into saying she wanted to stay at mine. I could tell from the words she used, this was her mother's choice of words.

Right after the hearing when I told her the outcome (50/50 living with) she was really happy. In fact she keeps saying that she wants to stay more with me (although I don't encourage that because I think 50/50 is actually best for her).
Hi All, thanks for all your feedback and advice. It's much appreciated and it's clear that most of us are in the same boat with alienation. I won't mention alienation in my final court hearing as advised.

I've just received Mum's witness statement and parenting proposal. It's 41 pages of nasty allegations. Mine is 9 pages and has been completed by my solicitor based on my feedback. It's child focused and isn't nasty towards her but raises valid points with examples and evidence. She's offered the following:

Every Wednesday tea time 15:30 - 18:30
Over the next few months - Saturday 15:30 - Sunday 16:00 (Every week)
After this few months, this increased to Friday 15:30 - Sunday 16:00 (Every 2nd week)
She will always have Christmas Eve and Christmas day and I will have boxing day and day after.
No mention of school holiday access.
Say's I can't take them abroad.

CAFCASS report stated I wasn't being unreasonable by asking for 50/50. I feel confident but I'm stressed at the minute.

Only 41 pages? You got off lightly!

The more she makes it about you the better... keep yours kid focused...

After our second hearing, the judge warned my ex that she had wasted 2 sessions in court speaking about me and she was bored and wanted to hear what the father had to say... i said very little but what i did say was about the kids and BOTH parents being involved i their lives EQUALLY...

Why increase over few months (will never happen) .. will you become a better dad than you are today after youe ex has managed your contact in a step by step increase? NO!

Actually she is decreasing your time... 1.5 weekend days ever week is more that 2.5 weekend days every other week - do the maths

And you want weekends Friday to Monday (if you can drop them at school) so you can visit relatives (which you state as important for your kids development)

Don't stress ... your strongest advantage in court is her! Let her present this... she will be laughed at.

Xmas will be shared 1 year each so she needs to prepare herself for that shock!
Can't take them abroad - HAHAHAHAHHAHHAHHHAAAHHAHAAHAHHA ... she's a special one there mate!

Rewrite it 50:50
Alternate weeks
Alternate holidays
Alternate xmas
Altrnate weekends etc etc etc

Explain to judge that the kids need both parents
"Being a good father, for its own sake, does not require your ex to see it or agree"
Thanks LTCDAD! You are correct. She is a special one!

Her document is really badly structured and it's difficult to read. Once you've read it, you struggle to remember what she's talking about. I don't think the magistrate will have time to read it in all honesty. Hopefully, after the 1st couple of pages, they'll understand what I've been going through for the last year.

I'll definitely take on all the advice from yourself and others on here. Going to spend my weekend preparing for next week!

Thanks again!

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