Can I Call CPS for Parental Alienation?

In my opinion, parental alienation is harmful to the child and the targeted parent. Whether you can call Child Protective Services (CPS) for parental alienation depends on the specific circumstances and the laws in your jurisdiction. Parental alienation is considered emotional abuse that may warrant the involvement of CPS. Reporting parental alienation to CPS may help, but it may not guarantee that it will resolve the issue.

If you believe a child is being emotionally abused or neglected due to parental alienation, you may consider contacting CPS or the appropriate child protective services agency in your area. They can investigate the situation and determine if the child’s well-being is at risk. However, it is important to remember that laws and procedures regarding parental alienation and CPS intervention can vary significantly by country, state, or region.

If you suspect parental alienation, it might also be helpful to seek advice from a family law attorney or other legal professional who can provide guidance specific to your situation and jurisdiction. They can help you understand your rights and the appropriate steps to take to address the issue.

Can I call CPS for Parental Alienation

Nevertheless, calling CPS for parental alienation should generally be considered when there are legitimate concerns about a child’s safety, well-being, psychological, or emotional health due to the alienating behaviors of one parent. Here are some circumstances where you might consider contacting CPS:

Signs of emotional abuse:

If a child is displaying significant emotional distress, anxiety, depression, or self-esteem issues as a result of the alienating tactics of one parent, it could be a cause for concern. Alienating parents tend to expect their children to be completely loyal to them. As a result, they put pressure on the child and even try to guilt-trip the child to their side in cases of conflict, creating emotional instability for the child.

Interference with visitation or custody orders:

When a parent consistently violates court-ordered visitation or custody arrangements and the child’s relationship with the other parent is negatively affected.

Rejection of a parent without valid reasons:

If a child suddenly and inexplicably begins to reject a previously loving and involved parent, and there are indications that this rejection is being encouraged or manipulated by the other parent, The alienating parent in your life might have constantly told the child negative things about the target parent. And they seem to rarely mention anything positive to balance it out.

The alienating parent often unfairly criticizes the target parent during the visits, and a parenting gap is created. They may resort to name-calling, insulting, and painting the other parent as bad. The alienated child later refuses to acknowledge anything good about the parent. 

Isolation of the child:

A parent intentionally isolates the child from extended family members, friends, or supportive individuals who could provide a balanced and healthy perspective.

The alienating parent may create the impression that the other parent is abusive without reason. They can take an innocent or normal situation and arm-twist it into something sinister, isolating the child from the target parent.

Involvement of professionals:

If mental health professionals, teachers, or other adults involved in the child’s life express concerns about potential parental alienation. The professionals may observe emotional instability, psychological torture, or other changes in behavior in the child.

Threats of harm or abuse:

If there are indications that the child’s safety is at risk due to the alienating parent’s actions or behavior, then it is a cause for concern.

Dependence on one parent only:

The alienating parent may encourage an unhealthy bond between the target parent and the child, making the child depend on them. They may make the child believe that they can’t function without them. In addition, they may create emotional incest and claim they can’t be happy without the child in their life.

Negative Impact of Parental Alienation on the Alienated Child

Parental alienation can be a highly distressing and damaging experience for the alienated child, with potential long-term effects on their emotional, psychological, and social well-being. Here are some of the effects that parental alienation may have on the child:

Emotional Distress:

Alienated children often experience chronic emotional distress, confusion, and inner conflict. They may feel torn between their love for both parents but are unable to express it openly due to loyalty conflicts.

Low Self-Esteem:

Children caught in parental alienation may internalize negative messages about themselves and their worth, leading to a diminished sense of self-esteem and self-worth.

Anxiety and Depression:

The manipulation and stress associated with parental alienation can contribute to the development of anxiety and depression in children. They may feel overwhelmed by the situation and struggle to cope with the emotional turmoil.

Trust Issues:

Parental alienation can lead to a breakdown of trust not only in the alienating parent but also in the targeted parent. This erosion of trust can extend to other relationships in the child’s life. This may also affect other siblings.

Difficulty Forming Healthy Relationships

The experience of parental alienation can affect a child’s ability to form and maintain healthy relationships later in life. The child may develop defensive mechanisms to protect themselves from potential rejection or manipulation.

Academic and Behavioral Problems:

The emotional strain caused by parental alienation can impact the child’s academic performance and behavior at school. They may struggle to concentrate, become withdrawn, or exhibit acting-out behaviors. Their continued mental and psychosomatic disorders affect their overall behavior in academics, leading to reduced educational and career realization.

Identity Confusion:

Alienated children may experience confusion about their identity as they are torn between the negative image of one parent and their own experiences and feelings towards that parent. Feelings of anger and abandonment cause attachment problems for the child.

Long-Term Effects on Adult Life:

If not addressed, the effects of parental alienation can persist into adulthood, impacting the child’s ability to establish and maintain healthy adult relationships and affecting their overall well-being.

Parent-Child Reunion Challenges:

If the alienation persists for an extended period, reunification with the alienated parent can be difficult and may require professional intervention. Rebuilding a positive relationship may take time and effort.

Drug and Substance Abuse:

A child who suffers from various personal development disorders is likely to engage in drug and substance abuse as an option to counter stress. Their sense of self gets damaged, and they lack proper guidance during their growth and development.

It’s essential to note that every child’s experience with parental alienation is unique, and the severity of the effects can vary depending on various factors such as the child’s age, the intensity of the alienation, and the child’s support system. Early intervention and counseling can play a crucial role in helping alienated children cope with the emotional challenges and begin the process of healing and rebuilding their relationships with both parents.


However, it is important to remember that every situation is unique, and not all cases of parental alienation warrant intervention from CPS. In some instances, seeking legal advice or mediation might be a more appropriate first step to address the issue.

If you suspect parental alienation, it’s crucial to gather evidence and document specific incidents or behaviors that raise concerns. Additionally, consulting with a family law attorney or other legal professional in your area can help you understand the best course of action based on the laws and regulations in your jurisdiction.

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