In a perfect world, you and your ex might be able to co-parent successfully once you decide to part ways, but for many families, this winds up not being the case. Often, some level of animosity exists between exes after your divorce. However, it is important that you recognize when any ill will your former partner may have for you spills over and affects your shared child.

Parental alienation occurs when one parent, whether intentionally or otherwise, fosters or encourages a child’s rejection of the other parent. When this happens repeatedly over time, it could permanently damage the relationship between the rejected parent and the child. Many believe that parental alienation is a form of child abuse that may hinder a child’s emotional well-being and self-confidence as he or she grows into adulthood.

It is not always easy to know when your ex crosses that line into parental alienation, but it may take place when he or she does one or more of the following.

Limits communications between you and your child

If your son or daughter becomes difficult to reach when visiting his or her other parent, this could be due to that parent limiting communications between you.

Leads your child to believe lies about you

Sometimes, parental alienation presents itself when one parent tells a child falsehoods that portray the targeted parent in a negative light. For example, the parent engaging in parental alienation tactics may tell a shared child that he or she is not valuable or important in the eyes of the other parent.

Attempts to cut your child off from your family members

If your child’s mother or father has begun making it increasingly difficult for your close friends and family members to spend time with your child, this, too, could potentially constitute parental alienation.

Because the effects of parental alienation are so damaging, it is not something parents should ignore.