Most divorced parents in Texas will not initially think anything is amiss if the other parent wants to rearrange a custody visit. The ex might say that the child needs to study or is sick. In extreme cases, however, this may escalate to a point where visitation is never handled easily. Even worse, the child may become confrontational and repeat criticisms made by the other parent.
This is known as parental alienation, and it involves one parent turning a child against the other. Parents can be alert to other signs of parental alienation as well. A child's behavior may gradually shift. There could even be bouts of explosive rage, or the child may appear entitled about gifts from the targeted parent. The parent might also be taken off contact lists and no longer asked to come to school meetings.
Parental alienation can happen in any kind of custody and visitation arrangement. However, one warning sign that parental alienation could become an issue is if a parent has been diagnosed with narcissistic or borderline personality disorder. A targeted parent should respond to signs of parental alienation by calmly setting boundaries and reinforcing love for the child. In some case, a professional counselor may provide assistance.
Even when tensions between parents do not rise to the level of parental alienation, negotiating child custody and visitation agreements can be stressful. Parents may be reluctant to give up any time with their children, but experts generally agree that it is best for kids to spend time with both parents after a divorce. During the divorce, parents may want to work with their attorneys to negotiate an agreement about custody and visitation.