Parental manipulation is a widespread issue after separation and divorce. Can you spot the signs?
When one parent wages warfare by turning the kids against the other, it may have a long-lasting impact on the victimized parent and the children. The first step to stopping it is understanding what may happen.
Have your children started acting out?
One of the first signs that something is amiss is unusual behavior. If your children begin to act out and become difficult out of character, it may prove a side-effect of manipulation. Older children may become more outspoken and angry when with you. Do not dismiss these as normal angst, especially if it is abnormal.
Do your children talk about your divorce?
The details of your divorce should remain between the adults and not trickle down to your children. If your children begin disclosing sensitive details about your divorce, they heard it from someone. While this may prove innocent, such as overhearing a phone conversation, it may also indicate that the other parent is sharing information to make you look bad.
Are you fielding requests to miss visits?
Your children may want to skip visitation here and there to attend social or sporting activities. While these once-in-a-while requests are benign, too many should raise a red flag. Children who have heard one parent badmouth the other may want to avoid visitation so they do not have to lie or pretend nothing is wrong. They may begin asking to forego visitation or change it without context.
If you suspect that your children have fallen victim to manipulation, you may want to act fast to intervene. Allowing it to go too long without putting an end to it may mean you lose out in the long and short run.