Owing to the aforementioned rising tensions between separating or divorcing parties particularly around the holiday season, it is understandably often difficult to keep adult conversations out of earshot of children to the marriage. This is particularly exacerbated when visiting family are unable to keep their opinions to themselves or prevent themselves from making the occasional snide comment about the other party.
Although sometimes outside of their control, it is crucial that each party does the upmost possible to prevent any negative opinions being expressed in front of their children. Children are highly perceptive, particularly at times of stress and tension when they are able to recognise that something is not right. It is therefore even more important in times of family difficulty that parents refrain from discussing adult matters in front of their children.
Children are also often very easily influenced and impressionable, particularly by the individual with which the child spends the majority of their time. If the child is surrounded by family talking negatively about the other parent, it is very likely that this will have detrimental effects on how the child begins to view that parent.
Parental alienation is an example of the serious consequences that negative talk in front of the child can have. Parental alienation refers to the process of a child becoming estranged from one parent owing to the manipulation of the child by the other. This may involve one parent discrediting the other; discussing sensitive issues or making false allegation in front of the children. As a result, the child’s relationship with the discredited parent can be affected to a devastating extent and the child may begin to refuse to spend time with their other parent altogether. Negative talk against one of their parents often leads children to feel hugely conflicted and as though they have to “choose a side” and leaving them with long lasting trauma growing up feeling like they have to please each parent.
It is therefore strongly recommended that, particularly around the holiday season, that the best option is to keep children out of adult matters entirely. Parents should only discuss the other where necessary, using neutral language to ensure that they do not influence the child’s perception of the other.
If you are concerned about your child being alienated against you, Family Law Group is able to provide specialist advice and support at each of our offices.