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Jiffy Rental Center in Riverton, Wyoming

Divorce Poison

A mom has an affair and takes off to be with her new boyfriend. Coming home long enough to change clothes, she blames her actions on her husband’s failure to support her financially and emotionally. While mom is gone for a couple of weeks, the kids rally around their dad. Then mom shows up with her story of mental abuse and how terrible dad is to her. The children's emotions are whipsawed around in a complete circle. The kids switch sides after hearing one story after another about dad’s faults.  They go to live with mom in another town.

This familiar story occurs in cities and small towns in America. The details may differ, but the story is a sad ending to a marriage.  Couples start out with good intentions in a marriage. Yet rarely is the fault one-sided. It takes two people to make a marriage and two people to keep it. Sometimes a divorce turns into a cataclysmic family breakup: an outcome much worse for the kids.

When divorce happens in small towns, news of the story spreads among the community like wildfire.    The story around town may be that mom had to move the kids to another town to protect them from an abusive father. Neighbors suddenly become judgmental and cold. A store clerk refuses to wait on the dad. He has no idea why until a friend tells him about the rumors floating around town.  Communities suffer from the divorce too.

In a divorce, parents don’t always act in theier children's best interest. They think nothing of pulling their kids out of school for a sudden move to another town.   The world the children grew up in is abruptly changed.  

“This is all your father’s fault,” says a Mom. This may be the only explanation a child receives.

Psychologists label parental alienation as a mental disorder inflicted upon the children. Once it takes effect, the kids become participants.   To a startled school teacher or the folks around town, there is a more simple explanation -- bad parenting.

Divorce poison gets a free pass as a natural byproduct of divorce.   Most people have never heard of parental alienation, but they are quick to recognize lies, distortion, and accusations that don’t add up. These are the stuff of divorce poison.   Court-ordered counseling to stop alienation of one parent by another often comes to late to help the kids.

Kids don't naturally lose interest or become distant from a parent.  The child-parent relationship must be attacked for this result.  This can range from bad-mouthing the other parent to an orchestrated attack.

Fortunately, most parents try to work things out to avoid hurting their kids. But not all of them. Some parents are obsessed with paybacks. They call the police and claim their spouse has abused the kids or some other accusations. These are the moms or dads who keep the police busy with complaints, each one requiring investigation, yet many times failing to pan out.  Law enforcement personnel caught in the middle of family law issues are learning to identify these parents  early on. 

The victims are the kids. Relatives, teachers, and friends who turn a blind eye when they see divorce poison do a disservice to the kids and the community.  Parental alienation casts a shadow over children that can last a lifetime.   As adults, these kids are much more likely to suffer depression and have difficulty in their own relationships. Ironically, they often find themselves the target of parent alienation later on by their own children in an inter-generational cycle.

Encourage kids to keep a good relationship with both of their parents.  Divorce is never an easy time for children, but people in a community can make it better.  Tell older children -- don't try to put your parents back together.  You'll be worn out trying.  You didn't cause the divorce.   It's not your job to keep each parent happy.  Do what is best for you.  Your parents will come around. 

People outside a family take sides in a divorce.  The side they should take is the kid's side.
Let a mom know when she is hurting her children by attacking their dad. Tell a dad who talks badly about a mom that he is harming his kids.  Stop divorce poison and alienation by casting light on what is happening.  C
ourts don't solve social problems.  People do.


Jiffy Rental Center Riverton