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OTHER ITA SITES:
A few words about my current perspective on parental alienation:
In my opinion, the best defense is to stand proud and tall in who you are, and trust your child to see the truth for herself. My kids were 3 and 6 when we got divorced. It's scary when they are young and you know their other parent is telling them lies about you.
My strategy to counter this was to stay cool and calm when they reported the lies to me, and to acknowledge that their dad has a right to his opinion about me. I then shared that I saw myself very differently. I would ask them to be honest with me about how THEY saw me, and would make it completely safe for them to tell me the truth. And then we would take steps together to mitigate whatever issues they were having with me.
I went about my life very transparently, SHOWING them who I am, as opposed to telling them, never arguing against their dad's opinion of me. I adopted the attitude of, 'Oh my, that's a tough one. I know you love both daddy and me, and I bet it's hard for you to hear him say things that are so different from what you feel is true about me. Is there anything you want to ask me about?'
I kept my focus on loving them and providing a safe place where they could unpack and examine all the stories he told them without fear that I would get angry. (at him OR them)
With each conversation, they became more and more comfortable with the concept that their dad's opinion was a lot different from theirs. Eventually their BS detectors became fully operational. The noisier and more frantic he became while trying to convince them to accept his opinions as the truth, the more my note of congruent self-acceptance rang clear. They still loved him, but they no longer believed his reports about me. Every time he tried to take me down, his credibility with them dropped a notch. They simply knew better.
Ironically, his attempts to 'dis' me actually acted as the catalyst for the conversations that forged the impenetrable bond I have with my kids today. They are now 16 and 13, and boy do they ever know who I am ... the whole messy, earnest, authentic complexity of me! And I know who they are as well. Our relationship is built on a solid base of honesty, transparency, and acceptance.
My advice to parents who fear that their ex has the power to alienate their child from them: Don't get so lost in anger, defense, or counter attack that you forget to show your child who you really are in every possible moment. Funnel your energy into being the best parent you can be when your child is with you. Let the truth of who you are ring clear, and don't allow anger, defensiveness, or revenge to pollute your relationship with your child.
The parent who is attempting alienation can never succeed if you remain steadfast in your love and acceptance of your child and yourself.
Copyright 2007 Karen Alonge
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