Offsetting Parental Alienation: Teenagers & Tactics
Dealing with Parental Alienation is tough. As noted by author of Divorce Poison, Dr. Richard Warshak, alienated parents have to develop a thick skin. There is not an easy answer. What works for one situation, will not work for another. Yet, keep in mind that other disorders also lack clear-cut answers. A few contributing factors are: personality, temperament and affinity. Still, there are shared commonalities; age counts. So does time. Time is vital . The longer a parent hiked on the high-road, the harder the terrain will be. Exhaustion may arrive–a little too early. Passivity may have replaced healthy activism. While we have not quite resolved the entire issue of PA, silence does not work. Silence (aka the high road) leads to dead ends, long dry spells, and boulders that will knock nearly all parents down—even those with the best preparation & territorial gear.
If you are a rejected parent and have contact with your alienated teenager, you probably discovered that reasoning and logic does not work. One tactic that may prove beneficial is your teens’ friends. They may possibly offset the programmed black & white thinking. Get ready. Open up your home. Grab junk food, turn up the latest hip-hop tunes and rent a couple of movies. Love others. While your own kid may dismiss you, other kids will not. In no doubt, your teen might manifest alienated behaviors such as, in your face defiance, destroying property, or running up your water bill just for fun; there is nothing like an outsider thinking you are an okay parent.
An un-brainwashed teen frequently detests both their parent’s odd mannerisms. On the other hand, an alienated teen, views one parent as fault- free and the other as appalling. The so-called all bad parent did not have to do anything to deserve their low life status. Similarly, the favored parent did not have to do anything to earn their angelic standing. The truth is, their glorified status was achieved through shoddy tactics such as buying the teen unnecessary items while simultaneously shucking responsibility. The ex-spouse, may also have frequent pity parties making the teen feel guilty. Or, perhaps, allows the teen to blow off parental rules, values and exploit boundaries.
Rejected parents are painfully aware that PA looks hopeless but it is not. God is bigger than parental alienation. Not long ago, a rejected mother shared what could be called a shock factor. The alienated mother is not perfect. She is average. The mother loves her teen and goes about day to day performing normal parental duties. The difference is, parenting an alienated teen is triple the pressure compared to non-alienated teens. She, like many others, lives with a spy . She also resides with a teen that disrespects her beyond the level of typical teens. One day, like many others, her teen demanded an after school meal, in his normal demeaning tone. Yet this time, the teen had a friend visiting. The mother, astonished, shared a needed assertion. The teen’s friend remarked, “I wish my mom was like yours.” The alienated mother noted that the look on her teens face was priceless. She later noted, she overheard the friend say, “Your mom is nice; you should not be so disrespectful.” And, “is she really as bad as you say?” A seed was planted.
Without a doubt this mother was pleasantly surprised. Slowly, this mother’s teen left the house for school and actually said have a nice day, vs. slamming the door. Household items were no longer given to the ex spouse. The teen talked a little more, participated in family time, and even said thank you a time or two. Definitely the teen was still somewhat blinded by the favored parent, but a seed was planted. The rejected parent cannot force an ex-spouse that is clearly capable of responsibility, to grow up. The rejected parent cannot rid their ex-spouses tote bag of entitlement, but it will have less impact. This story demonstrates how typical teen behaviors, such as loud music and asking for extended curfews may evolve.
Some alienated parents use the aid of family. If the family understands alienation and does not undermine efforts, change is possible. Unfortunately, certain families follow common societal mentality. They mistakenly think if a child rejects a parent, the parent must be at fault. They believe if a teen acts nervous around a rejected parent, the parent must have done something to warrant the anxiety. The family member may, make the situation worse due to a lack of insight. They fail to realize that if a favored parent has brainwashed a teen (starting at a young age, with the help of extended family) the teen will come to believe mom should be shunned. Accordingly, a fear response will follow. An outsider, another teenager, offers random uncensored comments at unexpected times. Possibly, your teen may be shocked into thinking that maybe, just maybe, both parents are not perfect. And, given enough uncensored and un- planned comments, the teen may start to question the disrespect they dish out and the lie that one-sided family loyalty is necessary. Children should feel free to love both parents without the burden of guilt or feelings of betrayal.