Some parents in Florida might have to contend with parental alienation syndrome. This can happen in any kind of custody and visitation arrangement and involves one parent turning the child against the other parent. It may occur when one parent suffers from a personality disorder, so a parent divorcing a person who has been diagnosed with personality disorders, particularly narcissistic or borderline, may want to be especially vigilant.
There are a number of warning signs of this syndrome. A child who never had problems before may become oppositional. The child may want to exclude the parent who is being targeted from attendance at extracurricular activities or parent/teacher meetings. The child may express explosive rage at the targeted parent and no longer recognize positive experiences between the two. However, the child may insist that none of this originates with the other parent even when the child may use the same language that parent used to denigrate the targeted parent in the past.
There are a few steps parents who suspect they have been targeted can take. They should avoid responding to provocations and continue setting limits with love. They should avoid lashing out at the other parent. They might want to talk to a professional about the situation.
If a child is in danger of abuse from another parent, the other parent might only be allowed supervised visitation with the child. However, parental alienation may be difficult to prove, so a parent might want to talk to an attorney about how the situation might be documented and handled. Courts try to ensure that children are able to have a relationship with both parents in most situations, but a judge also attempts to make child custody decisions that are in the best interest of the child, and this may mean shielding the child from a harmful parent.