What is the Impact of the Bystander Effect in Parental Alienation?

Whenever one parent takes steps to prevent their child from having a healthy relationship with the other parent, this can result in parental alienation. It typically involves significant manipulation on the part of the custodial parent to convince the child that the non-custodial parent is a bad person or does not care about them. It can go the other direction, however, if the non-custodial parent spends their visiting hours convincing the child that the custodial parent is a bad person, doesn’t care about them, or is trying to keep them away from each other, even though he or she is not. In many cases, the manipulating parent is so good at the act that they can convince everyone in the child’s life that what they are saying is true. In other cases, the manipulating parent genuinely believes what they are saying and doesn’t even realize that they are manipulating everyone around them, including their own child in such a way that parental alienation syndrome is the result.

In cases of parental alienation, the child often grows up to resent the alienated parent and may not realize they have been manipulated into the situation. When others either believe the manipulating parent or when the alienated parent reaches out to help and others do nothing, then you have the bystander effect to contend with. The bystander effect occurs when others who are aware of the situation and could intervene choose not to. The bystander could be anyone and could have a range of different reasons for not wanting to get involved. However, the most serious cases of the bystander effect occur when the alienated parent reaches for help through the appropriate avenues, and is ignored or brushed off. It is the bystander effect that prevents parents from being able to counteract the effects of parental alienation, leaving them without any resources to improve their situation. If you are dealing with the bystander effect and parental alienation, contact the family law attorneys at Remington & Dixon, PLLC. We know that you are dealing with is stressful and frustrating. Our lawyers have the experience and the resources to help you exercise your parental rights.

Common Examples of the Bystander Effect in Cases of Parental Alienation in Charlotte, North Carolina

As an alienated parent, you are probably concerned about your child’s emotional well-being and about the potential for simmering resentment that may follow your child into adulthood. Yet, the bystander effect could prevent you from doing anything about it if you don’t seek legal representation. Beyond those who may ignore the issue or dismiss your concerns as invalid, there are also bystanders who are going to minimize the significance of the problem, blame you for the situation, or even accuse you of “playing the victim.” You may feel like there is nothing you can do, but talking to the Charlotte, North Carolina, family law attorneys at Remington & Dixon may be the first step towards actual results.

Did You Know that Parental Alienation is Considered to be Psychological Child Abuse?

Charlotte NC family law lawyer
family law attorney in Charlotte NC

Perhaps the reason that so many bystanders fail to intervene in cases of parental alienation is that they don’t realize that this behavior is a form of psychological child abuse. While the alienated parent must contend with the grief associated with losing their relationship with their child, but the child must contend with the anger, depression, anxiety, and sense of rejection that is associated with manipulating a child to believe that their other parent doesn’t love them enough to visit. Many children must face these types of feelings because their parent really doesn’t care to visit. Yet, when a child is made to go through such emotional turmoil when their parent really does want to be with them, this is a terrible injustice to the child and the alienated parent. No child should have to grow up believing that a parent with whom they’ve always had a relationship simply decided one day not to come around anymore.

This is the sad reality for far too many children who may never learn the truth. Many alienated parents eventually give up when they encounter so many examples of the bystander effect that they begin to doubt their own rights and ability to fight the situation. In some cases, a child may grow up and seek out the alienated parent, and they may find out the truth then, or they may refuse to believe it, or refuse to see the alienated parent out of a sense of anger and resentment. For many children, these complex emotions affect their self-esteem and sense of self-worth. They may end up with psychological issues like anxiety and depression. They may turn to drugs or alcohol to cope with the pain. Because there may be no other forms of abuse or obvious harm to the child, the sad circumstances of parental alienation may never be confronted, impacting the rest of the child’s life.

How Charlotte, North Carolina, Family Law Attorney Can Help

The best case scenario is one where you are able to resolve your issues with a sense of compassion for one another and concern for your children’s best interests from the very beginning so that you may be able to avoid the trauma and despair of parental alienation. The best way to do this is to work with a skilled Charlotte, North Carolina, family law attorney who will respect and contribute to your goal of resolving all disputes without animosity. If you are already in a situation where parental alienation has occurred, and you are not dealing with the bystander effect, then contacting the Charlotte, North Carolina, family law attorneys at Remington & Dixon is your first step towards overcoming this obstacle.


Are consultations free?

While we offer a free consultation on traffic matters, criminal matters, and most professional license defense cases, we charge a fee for family law consultations to personalize our consultations to your specific needs. To learn about our fee structure, please get in touch.

Where can I get legal advice?

We recommend meeting with an attorney. While there is free legal help available for North Carolina residents from pro bono resources for civil matters, and public defenders for criminal cases, the best way to access tailored advice is to hire a lawyer.

Can I hire you if I’m in another state?

This is done on a case by case basis if you are involved in a family law, criminal, or professional disciplinary matter that involves another jurisdiction.



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