July 20

3 Things Your Alienated Child Wish YOU Knew


Understandably, so many cut-off parents do not know what their child is really thinking or feeling. I am here to tell you three things that your alienated child wish you knew. And this comes from the heart, since I was once an alienated child myself. 

1. I don't want to have to choose sides.

Children love both parents. When a divorce takes place, this does not change. They don't want to be left with feeling they have to choose sides, or make decisions that their parents should be making. And yet once a parent puts them in that position, they will feel they have to make those decisions, and therefore continue to do so. This is why many children feel empowered to choose parenting schedules, communication with a parent, etc. Children need healthy rules in order to navigate life, and they like structure and to occasionally make decisions--but ones that children should be making (i.e., maybe an activity, what to have for dinner (with exceptions), etc)--not what the parenting schedule should be. They might have a desire to stay at one parent over the other's, maybe the other parent lives further away and are away from friends, school, etc. However make sure it isn't what you want. Make it work with your co-parent so it's easier on the child, take you out of it. 

2. I don't like behaving negatively towards you.

Regardless of how terrible an alienated child may act out towards a parent, deep down they do not want to act that way. Ask me how I know! Many reunited children admit that they feel guilty over how they treated their parent. They admit that they exaggerated things or even flat out lied. I would feel terrible after some of the things I said and did to my dad, yet I still did it. It's a cry for help, and many parents are not hearing it correctly. Don't try to get defensive, either. Remain in your authentic place, from a place of unconditional love.

3. I don't like when either parent talks about the other.

This should be obvious, and yet it happens far too often. Parents who are in a high-conflict dynamic can't help themselves but try to lift themselves up or seem like the better parent. So what is the first [unconscious] things that comes to mind? Put the other parent down, of course! When you are not confident as a parent, in the way you're handling divorce, or if you're upset at how your children behave towards you, then oftentimes that gets communicated through denigrating the other parent. And despite possible complaints children may share about their other parent, ask yourself if they are coming from you or them. And maybe it's both. That doesn't mean you can egg on their complaints.  It doesn't feel good for a child to hear things about the other parent, and especially if it's regarding the other parent's role as a spouse. That has nothing to do with them. This is most common with affairs. If they are still there for their child, then that doesn't always make them both a crappy spouse and parent, by association. While we don't want to create an illusion that parents are perfect (because they are not), we do not have to resort to downright negativity and denigration. 

...Being cut off from a child, whether to the full extent or just marginally, is painful and oftentimes confusing. The main thing to remember is that your child feels no different. It is important to always keep in mind that there are things they are feeling that they may never express to you outright or directly. Have compassion and empathy for them, and always seek support if you are struggling in that realm. 


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  1. Hi,

    It’s all nice what is written above but it only keep the alienated parent in the spiral of of dispair. From all the experiences published on alienation there is is only grieving and no solution.

    My 17 year old daughter rejects any contact since 3 years and 7 month. No reply to any message, not even a short thank you for birthday presents.
    You can also ask yourself what personality that is and if that will ever change.

    After intensively looking for solutions for 6 years, I stopped a year ago. I don’t want to hear these endless advices anymore because it’s only getting you into the endless emotional spiral again without any solution.

    What serves me best is to accept what it is, get the emotion out, communicate to my daughter consistently but low key and not expect anything. The only idea behind it is that it gives her some kind of basis.

    I do not want to waste my time anymore in expectations for the future. And I honestly believe there will be no parental bound in the future. I’m afraid it has gone to far and I won’t easily forget how negatively it impacted my life for 6 years.

    It is also got to put some part of responsibility to a child when they become older. Everybody has responsibilities and you can excuse every kind of behavior.

    For my daughter I know that I have given her every possibility, never contacted her unnecessary. You can not wipe out the possibility that it also is her personality which is far from what I respect.

    My son, her younger and only brother is handling completely different. He is one week with me and then one week with his mother. Our contact is very good.

    So it doesn’t help to emotionalize these kind if situations to much. It’s more of the same and doesn’t solve the problem. Accepting what is , is much better because an alienated parent can’t change the situation, the child has the key, the parent has not.

    1. Hi there- thank you for sharing your perspective! We agree that for this family dynamic there is often not a solution. That is why Dorcy founded CCPI, to actually offer practical solutions. We have a plethora of other blog posts, Dorcy has an entire YouTube channel, has done countless webinars, created various rigorous courses, and of course we offer very in-depth, hands-on services such as guided coaching to help parents attract their child back. You can even read through/listen/watch the testimonials of parents willing to share how helpful our solutions have been. It is always possible to reunite with a child, Dorcy knows firsthand as she was cutoff from her father until she was an adult when they reunited. We agree that everyone has a different personality. And yet personalities are not strictly based off genetics, environment plays a drastic role. For children of complex divorce situations, it is a breeding ground for unhealthy personalities to develop. Parents often fail to understand that the environment that they created for their child affected how their child develops, so they place blame onto the child rather than learn how to help them shift. Fortunately, personalities can change. That is precisely why Dorcy is focused on teaching parents how to mirror healthy personality traits and behaviors in their children, by and through how they attract them back and reconnect, and for parents who are early on in their divorce and want to prevent a full cutoff. This kind of blog is not to 'emotionalize' rather provide insight into the situation further so parents can come from a place of empathy and move towards taking proactive action.

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