Treatment goals and tips
When working with the child:
- Promote a healthy relationship with both parents.
- Help the child to correct cognitive distortions.
- Work with the child to maintain a balanced view of both parents.
- Improve the child’s critical thinking skills.
- Recognize when a child’s behavior is incongruent from one setting to the next.
- Augment the child’s coping skills.
When working with the rejected parent:
- Recognize that the parent may feel misunderstood.
- Work with the parent not to counter-reject the child.
- Be aware of avoidance and passivity; the parent may want to escape the poor treatment of the ex-spouse and the child by avoiding the problem altogether.
When working with the favored parent:
- Recognize there may be a role reversal. The child may be meeting the emotional needs of the parent. Help the parent recognize his or her role as a parent and encourage the parent to engage in adult relationships to find emotional support.
- Keep an eye open for enmeshment. What might initially appear as a healthy parent-child relationship could be extremely unhealthy. For instance, there may be a lack of community or family support.
- Recognize that children generally benefit from the involvement of parents, absence abuse or neglect. Realize that some rejected parents may have personality disorders and continue to instigate court hearings or defy court orders.