The ten billion dollar question is “how can I reconnect with my alienated child?”
None of this is intended to be medical or legal advice and this site will not be held liable. The site authors hold no (zero) credentials.
By Howie Dennison
Rest assured, it is hard, and there are no easy answers. In fact, quite likely, no answers at all.
There may be some approaches that might possibly be better than most (but none very good):
1. For children who are now adults, buy Amy Baker’s book “Surviving Parental Alienation” and turn to the back.
2. For minor children, buy Amy Baker’s book “Co-parenting with a Toxic Ex”.
3. Also, consider Dr Richard Warshak’s “Family Bridges” program at his web site.
4. Surrounding oneself with people who show respect to you (e.g. treat you like you are a normal person) – the child might see this as an indication that you are not all bad.
5. Somehow living a life that eventually counters whatever your child incorrectly believes about you.
6. Amy Baker’s book “Adult Children of Parental Alienation” has a chapter that lists ways that some children re-connected with their alienated parent (catalysts).
7. Teach children critical thinking and how easily we can be influenced by other people without even knowing it.
8. Create screen savers / presentations of your good relationship before the alienation happened
9. Fantasy pipe dream: Possibly education all the bystanders and counselors and authority figures that don’t understand what is going on and that assume you are a horrible person and pass that onto the child, either subtlety or overtly.
11. Possibly show the child Dr Warshak’s Welcome Back Pluto DVD, availalbe on Dr Warshak’s web site
12. Take care of yourself: Stay Happy
Healthy, Successful and Spiritually
Positive (Joan Kloth-Zanard). Craig Childress also has suggestions
on how to deal with the complex trauma. One expert has said that, in a way, children must be enticed/seduced to return to the alienated parent and that requires them to have some measure of joy and happiness.
13. Amy Baker’s “Beyond the High Road” ebooklet, available on her website
14. Never give up. Otherwise, the alienating parent will say “the targeted parent does not love you”. Giving up feels worse to the child than their pain of constantly rejecting you.
15 Send Care packages children you do not see every 2 weeks.
16. Go to Ryan Thomas Speaks
where he offers about 15 hours of video replete with comprehensive suggestions. I am not sure if access to all the videos is still available.
18. Sign up for a parent coaching session from Amy Baker (not free)
19. Sign up for a session from Dr Warshak (not free)
22. Consider trying to strike an emotional cord in your child by referencing an old picture (or pictures), a favorite flavor, or a shared experience.
23. Keep any interactions that may exist guilt free and stress free.
24. Elbow your way into your child’s life, say possibly for example, volunteering at their school.
25. Realize that PA is all about a power and control imbalance, and although it may not be possible to change that, but to the extent you can rebalance it slightly without any downsides, doing so can be helpful.
Solving the problem
However, the only one under your jurisdiction of control is yourself so this is the part that you work with in three separate ways. First, it is critical, regardless of the attitude and reception from the other parent, from the other parent’s family and from your child that you stay in positive contact with them. Civility and cordiality in face-to-face contact is essential regardless of what is said in your presence or behind your back. In addition, sending your child cards, letters and little packages on unimportant days is appropriate. Also, communicating with your child by telephone, by e-mail and by facsimile can be effective. If you have completely lost contact with your child, then set your priority to find him/her and restore contact at least by distance. If this is impossible, then collect items and memorabilia in a special box or trunk reserved for your child and the possibility of future contact.
Second, become active as a citizen for positive change, and learn about the strengths and weaknesses of the system you blame for preventing you from having parenting opportunities with your child. This action may not change the disposition of your situation, but you may make the system a better place for other targeted parents and their children.
Third, for your sake and for the sake of your relationship with your child, it is imperative that you forgive the other parent. Notice there was no mention of forgetting what has happened, or how you have been treated, but again, for restoring your emotional balance and your ability to cope with life challenges in healthy ways, you will need to forgive the alienator. For some, this is a spiritual journey, and for others the path is a secular one. What is important is that you go about this process in a unique way that you believe will work for you so the specter of losing your child is diminished, and your health and well being are in restoration.