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Author Topic: Alienation and Visitation difficulties  (Read 1498 times)


  • Guest
Alienation and Visitation difficulties
« on: Feb 19, 2004, 10:35:48 AM »
I'm new to this forum and would appreciate some advice. I've been divorced for 3 yrs and have 2 daughters (now ages 15 and 12). My ex-wife moved to another state with the children. We have a mediated agreement outlining specific visitation; however, this agreement has been a nightmare to enforce and is getting worse. My ex-wife has always viewed my role in the children's lives as peripheral and inconsequential. She views my visitation as a vacation for the children to be taken only when they feel like it. The children, of course, adopt their attitudes from her. This subtle alienation, coupled with my restricted time and influence with the children due to her moving far away, means that the children rarely "feel like" visiting. They are also of the age where they'd many times rather be with their friends than their parents. When I try to enforce the visits, my ex invariable uses the children against me, stating "they don't want to come", "you're not respecting their feelings", "how can you force them to do this", etc.

The long-distance factor adds another complication in that I need to be flexible so as not to interfere with the children's school and sports commitments. I don't have a problem with accomodating legitimate conflicts, but I am asked to accomodate every little thing, including trips to the mall. My ex also deliberatly schedules events and vacations for the children during my visitation time so as to create anger in the children towards me. When I try to enforce my visitation, I am portrayed as the bad guy who takes them away from their other activities, and has "no respect for their feelings" of not wanting to visit.

In the past, I have given in to this pressure too many times, hoping that things would get better. It's very difficult to hear your children on the phone crying about how they want to stay home. But my time with them has been reduced too much in trying to appease them, and I'm afraid they are slipping away from me. I'm now trying to be more adamant about enforcing visitation, and am experiencing the predicted emotional-blackmail campaign from my ex. She has never outright refused to send them when I insist, but she makes sure to make me pay with the children's anger and unhappiness. This is beginning to seriously damage my relationship with my kids. It's so sad - when they are here, they lighten up after a few days and begin having a good time. By the time they leave, they are looking forward to the next visit with me. A few days upon returning home, however, they suddenly no longer want to come the next time, and the cycle begins again.

What is my recourse? Is there a way to force my ex and the chilren to attend counselling (of course I'd be willing to participate as well)? I feel like my relationship with my kids will be permanently damaged if I allow this to continue, but I don't want to hurt them more than they are clearly already suffering. I had never heard of Parental Alienation Syndrome until I recently read a book on the subject and recongnized many of my ex's behaviors. It may be subtle in my case, but it has certainly been effective.

Any advice will be greatly appreciated. Thanks.



  • Guest
RE: Alienation and Visitation difficulties
« Reply #1 on: Feb 20, 2004, 07:14:50 AM »
Unfortunately my friend,, you are dealing with the very thing a lot of parents here deal with. There is really no way to "force" the issue of therapy.

About the only thing that CAN combat this type of alienation is being involved with your children more frequently,, ie: if at all possible, move to where they are and re-open the visitation schedule due to changed circumstances.


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