Your Parents Can Divorce, But They Can’t Alienate You

In 7 of the last 9 cases that have reached the OveHum, divorced parents try to put their children against their mothers. Besides being the cause of the rupture, not only they rebuild their lives quickly, but prevent their former partners remaking theirs, putting all kinds of obstacles and absurd controls. The star product to do this is a mobile phone, that they use as “gift” for the children, but the hidden intention is twofold; first “to buy” the trust of the children, and second “to alienate” them, controlling and criticizing the mother. 

In my view some cases are pathological, but these “parents” also violate the rights of their children, thereby committing a crime of Parental Alienation. In fact, there are laws that define and punish parental alienation, like in Mexico: May 9th, 2014. Civil Code Capitulo III, Art. 323 Septimus, and in Brazil: August 26, 2010. Law No. 12318/10.

We have invited the expert Dr Deborah P. Hecker, to clarify what this problem is, helping children to understand and remember their rights, and instructing parents to understand that they must change their attitude. All this without going into the decisions taken by the judge.

Introduction – By Dr Deborah P. Hecker

It goes without saying that your parents began their marriage with the intention of creating a healthy lifelong relationship.  But sometimes relationships don’t work out, and divorce is the result.  Let me remind you that each member of your family unit, including you, will experience the divorce in their own unique way.

Sadly, divorce and separation can breed bad blood not only between your parents but also between you and your parents. If your parents are engaged in a high- conflict divorce where there is outright war between them, without even realizing it, you may find yourself caught in the middle of their warfare.

In this article I will talk about how your parents’ bloody battle affects you and what your parents can do to protect you from their problems.

To You: Kids and Teens

Let’s begin with your rights:

  • You have the right to maintain a healthy and strong relationship with both of your parents.
  • You have the right to be shielded from your parents’ conflicts.

Now let’s talk about how your rights are sometimes violated and how that makes you feel:

  • One of your parents turns you against the other so that you feel the need to reject the other parent by hating them.
  • One of your parents says mean things about the other and you feel you have to agree
  • You feel like you cannot love other family members because one parent will be angry with you.
  • You feel uncomfortable having a relationship with both of your parents.
  • You are afraid to disagree with the parent you are “closest to” because you are afraid of hurting their feelings, so you say things you may not really believe.

If you can relate to any of the above, you are experiencing what is called parental alienation.  Simply put, parental alienation occurs when one of your parents turns you against the other parent and his or her family, and you are made to feel that parent is your enemy, not someone you are allowed to love.

You should never be placed in this situation!  Let’s review your rights:

  • You have the right to love both of your parents.
  • You have the right to spend time with both of your parents.
  • You should never be asked to choose sides.
  • You have the right for your parents to be sensitive to your needs, not just their own.
  • You have the right to express your feelings freely to your parents, even if they disagree with you.

If you are struggling with feeling caught in the middle of your parents’ problems, there are many professional people who can help you to resolve your conflict.

Now a Word to Your Parents

Your divorce marks THE END of a relationship and regardless of how amicable it is, you will go through a grieving process.  It is natural that this process will be a time of tremendous emotional upheaval for you, as well as for your child.

Some of the concerns your child will inevitably have as a result of the divorce are the following:

  • How to transition between two households
  • Witnessing both parents’ pain and being worried about it
  • How to deal with the rules at two homes
  • Wondering what will their future look like
  • Wondering if they will be loved by both parents

Do NOT assume you have ruined your child’s life by divorcing. While it is true that divorce can be a big part of your child’s life, you and your former spouse have the power to create a fine quality of life for them.

Let me remind you that every child has a fundamental right and need for an unthreatened and loving relationship with both parents. To be denied that right by one parent without sufficient justification is called parental alienation. Experts use the term abusive to describe parental alienation, which consists of the following characteristics:

  • Denigrating and bad-mouthing the other parent as a way to interfere with your child’s relationship with that parent
  • Erasing the other parent from your child’s life and mind
  • Forcing your child to reject the other parent
  • Intentionally limiting your child’s contact with the other parent
  • Threatening to withdraw affection from your child if they don’t accommodate your needs for retaliation against your former or soon-to-be ex-spouse
  • Creating the impression that the other parent is dangerous and unworthy


Your ability to co-parent or at least to respect your child’s relationship with their other parent creates the foundation upon which he or she begins to build a healthy sense of intimacy and reciprocity with others, including in their current friendships.

Don’t put your child in the middle.  Kids don’t want to take sides. They want to be free of worrying about their parents. Children who get caught in the middle are at risk for many psychosocial problems.

In other words, it is your responsibility to actively model for your child what a healthy relationship looks like.  That means developing the ability to put aside your own negative feelings toward your former partner in favor of your child’s welfare.


Auteur : Deborah P. Hecker, Ph.D.

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