What is parental alienation?


What is parental alienation?

When parents separate sometimes a child may resist or refuse to spend time with the non-resident parent.

There is no single definition in law with regard to what parental alienation is. Cafcass recognise parental alienation as “When a child’s resistance or hostility towards one parent is not justified and is the result of psychological manipulation by the other parent”


Examples of parental alienation are: –

Limiting contact and keeping a child from the other parent


  • Not informing the other parent about important information


  • Brainwashing the child


  • Erasing the other parent from the child’s life


  • Manipulating a child’s feelings or bribing them in order to interfere with the other parents relationship


  • Talking bad about the other parent


  • Making a child choose sides or who to love


  • Forcing a child to reject or hate their other parent


  • Not allowing a child to express their love for the other parent


  • Making a child fearful of the other parent


  • Making a child feel guilty for loving the other parent or wanting to spend time with them



Alienating behaviours vary significantly and both men and women can demonstrate alienating behaviours.

Cases of this nature tend to be distressing for all involved but more importantly impacts emotionally on the child. The parent who is alienating the child from the other parent is most definitely causing the child emotional harm.

If there is any indication a child is suffering from parental alienation by one parent, it is important to address this the with a family law Solicitor at the earliest opportunity. If the parent’s alienating behaviours are left unaddressed then the child’s negative views with regard to the other parent become ingrained. This puts the relationship with the other parent in long-term jeopardy.