It's hard enough to go through all the emotional distress of divorce, but when your ex tries to turn your child, your everything, against you, that's when enough is enough. 

You just went through a heartbreaking divorce. Your ex won primary custody, but you won visitation rights to your child in court. It starts out with your child acting differently toward you during your scheduled visitation. Maybe they give you some sideways glances, maybe they shy away from your friendly touch. It starts to get worse. Your child no longer wants to see you, but you can't understand why. You've done nothing to warrant this behavior from a child that you took care of and loved unconditionally for years. Your ex starts preventing you from visiting your child, claiming that you somehow caused this by your own behavior. Maybe your ex even goes so far as to say that you abused your child. The child that you loved with all your heart. How could your ex say that? How did you end up so far away from a positive relationship with your child? How can you fix it when your ex won't let you see your child anymore, when your ex is telling the court that you are not a fit parent and should not even have visitation rights? 

We know what you are experiencing. There is a name for it, and we can help. 

Parental alienation happens when one parent discredits the other parent to a child that the two parents share custody of, and it is often accompanied by several false targeted accusations. It could be your ex telling your child that you abandoned them, that you will hurt them if given the chance, or (for younger children) that they just don't want to see you. It's painfully easy for an alienating parent to destroy your relationship with your child, but there is hope. 

Hickey & Hull Law Partners is experienced in handling parental alienation cases, and we care about each and every case, even when it hurts. Give us a call because things are about to get better.

Parental Alienation Stories

How To Help Your Children Cope with a Narciss...

Parental narcissism can be a difficult and painful experience for a child, because they can be self-centered and lack empathy, making it difficult for their children to feel seen or heard. However, there are ways to help your child cope with parental narcissism and mitigate its effects.  How to Help Your Children Cope Psychology experts say that children may suffer in several ways when living with or sharing time with a narcissistic parent:  Low self-esteem Chronic self-blame  Insecure attachment style Fierce independence or unhealthy codependency Indecision and doubt Can’t focus on own needs Narcissism Unfortunately, these things can affect the way your child grows up: They may grow up feeling anxious, depressed, insecure, or even fall into NPD themselves.  So how can you, as their other parent, help protect them and practice healthy coping mechanisms?  Don’t Speak Poorly of the Other Parent Always be the bigger person and never speak badly about the other parent in front of your child.  When you speak poorly about the other parent, you’re trying to convince them to think the way you do, which is a type of parental alienation. This will confuse your children and put them in a position where they feel unsafe and must choose between their parents.  The time will come when they get older and will understand how they were affected as a child, but it’s essential not to pull them into adult-only issues. And, as the designated calm parent, you can help your child have a better sense of security, safety, and trust.  Maintain a Consistent Schedule and Structure Unfortunately, narcissistic parents have a notorious lack of presence and/or consistency. Some days, the parent may be in a great mood, while a minor thing can tick them off and put them into a rage. Other times they’re nowhere to be seen because they are off doing something else.  You can’t always control what goes on at the other parent’s home. But when your child is with you, it’s time to stay consistent.  That’s because children thrive from routine. One study shows that, just like adults, children do better when their daily activities and schedules are predictable and familiar. With a consistent schedule, they will feel more comfortable, confident, secure, and in control of themselves and their environment.  Help Build Positive Traits In Your Children Children are malleable creatures, which means they learn a lot from their environments and the people around them. When your kids are with you, take every opportunity to help build and enforce positive traits, such as:  Self-soothing techniques, like breathing, instead of throwing tantrums Understanding that everybody makes mistakes, including adults Model healthy communication because narcissistic parents tend to guilt trip and gaslight with unpredictable emotions Encourage individuality, so they have a strong sense of self  Document Any Potential Abuse It’s not uncommon for narcissistic parents to resort to emotional, mental, or physical abuse. It’s a sad yet important truth to understand — so if you suspect your children are being abused in any way, be sure to report every aspect of the incident, such as: What you noticed: Did you find an unexplainable bruise, or did your child say something that raised alarms?  When you notice: As soon as you see something alarming, take note of the time and date. Even if you notice the same things over time, document each incident.   The story: When you ask your child, “Where were you when you got that bruise?” or “What was happening [when Mommy said that to you]?” be sure to record the incident verbatim somewhere safe.  If you suspect your child suffers from emotional, mental, or physical abuse due to living with a narcissistic parent, you need to seek legal help immediately.  Hickey & Hull Law Partners Can Help You Today Working with a family law expert is crucial for protecting your child from the harmful effects of parental alienation and parental narcissism. A family law expert can help you understand your legal rights and options and work with you to develop a plan of action that is in your child's best interest.  Whether you are dealing with a problematic co-parent or navigating the complexities of a custody dispute, a family law expert can provide the support and guidance you need to protect your child from harm and ensure that their needs are met.Call us today or fill out our online form if you have any questions or want to get started immediately. Our River Valley office number is 479.434.2414, and our Northwest Arkansas number is 479.802.6560.

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How a Narcissistic Parent Can Affect Your Chi...

Narcissism personality disorder (NPD) is when a person feels an overt sense of importance about themselves.  Symptoms often become apparent in everyday behavior, like selfishness, lack of empathy, and even manipulation — which, when children are involved, can lead to parental alienation.  Unfortunately, experts say that up to 5% of the U.S. population has NPD, so it’s essential to recognize the signs in your current or ex-partner and how it might affect your children.  How Narcissistic Parents Affect Children As humbling as parenthood is, narcissism doesn’t just go away when a person becomes a parent. In some cases, NPD symptoms are actually heightened because all of the sudden, this person is forced to share the “spotlight” with their kids and put their needs first.  With that said, there are many narcissistic parents in the world — and they may purposely or inadvertently negatively affect their children’s health. Psychology experts say that children may suffer in several ways when growing up with a narcissistic parent:  Low self-esteem Chronic self-blame  Insecure attachment style Fierce independence or unhealthy codependency Indecision and doubt Can’t focus on own needs Narcissism What many psychologists and even lawyers don’t mention is that a narcissistic parent can manipulate their children to think the way they do — which can result in parental alienation against the other parent.  How Narcissism Plays a Role in Parental Alienation Narcissistic parental syndrome is almost always considered the same as parental alienation syndrome (PAS).  And this is not by coincidence. PAS occurs when one parent actively tries to alienate their child from the other parent without a valid reason. Many theorize the main root of PAS is narcissism.  Let’s break it down: Narcissistic behavior occurs when a person has high values on their importance and beliefs, which often cancels out anybody else’s thoughts or feelings. Parental alienation happens when one parent attempts to turn their child against the other parent that is due to negative personal beliefs.  In short, PAS is almost always driven by narcissism. Some tell-tale behaviors of a child that is a victim of parental alienation include:  Unexplainable anger by the child  Constant refusal to visit  Reacts with hostility and hatred Borrowed language that may belong to the alienating parent Refusal and rejection of your side of the family  Justifies and supports the alienating parent If your child exhibits any of these behaviors, then there’s a chance they’re a victim of parental alienation syndrome, as illustrated by a manipulative, narcissistic parent.  This is an unhealthy atmosphere for your child to grow in — because, as we covered earlier, living with an NPD parent can have long-term emotional and mental effects. So what can you do?  It May Be Time to Seek Legal Help  When you’re actively dealing with disagreements on how to raise your child with your ex-partner, it can feel pretty frustrating. And then when legal help is mentioned, it suddenly all feels trivial and silly. Does this sound like you?  If so, just know that legal help — especially from those who are experienced in family law — doesn’t need to be a be-all-end-all. Instead, it can be as simple as receiving advice, participating in mediation, and restructuring your parenting plan.  It’s also essential to leave a sort of “paper trail” when you suspect your child is the victim of emotional abuse like manipulation or parental alienation. Your legal team can help you document any instances of abuse and bring them to the courts so that you can protect your child.  Contact Hickey & Hull Law Partners Today There’s no true boundary for ensuring that your child is happy and healthy. And with years of expertise in family law and parental alienation, the team at Hickey & Hull Law Partners can help you if your child is a victim of a parent with NPD.  Call us today or fill out our online form if you have any questions or want to get started immediately. Our River Valley office number is 479.434.2414, and our Northwest Arkansas number is 479.802.6560. We’re here to help you.

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How to Reverse Parental Alienation...

In a perfect world, separated parents would put their children first and their feelings of animosity second. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen: If a person doesn’t have the proper coping techniques, it can be hard to identify and control these negative feelings towards their ex-spouse. This is often the setup for parental alienation syndrome.  How Do Children and Parents Become Alienated?  Parental alienation is a strategy in which one parent unjustly and intentionally harms the relationship between their children and the other parent by performing toxic behaviors, such as:  Speaking badly to the child about the other parent Attempting to dissuade the child from wanting to visit the other parent Spreading hateful lies and assumptions that harm the other parent’s reputation Fighting with the other parent in front of the child, often paired with absurd rationalizations Careful manipulation of the targeting parent’s feelings toward the other parents Remember that, in most cases, these accusations and behaviors are unfounded. They are usually the result of an angry and hurt individual that hasn’t yet processed or overcome their feelings.  What Are the Signs of Parental Alienation?  Typical signs of a child suffering from parental alienation — also called the “alienated child” — are extreme hostility towards the targeted parent, ungratefulness when met with gifts or favors, refusal to see or spend time with them, and overall defiance and withdrawal.  How Can You Reverse Parental Alienation? There are ways to help reverse parental alienation. Every case is unique, so remember that these tips are mere stepping stones to establishing a better relationship with your child. In some instances, changes may take effect quickly, while others may take longer or require some outside help.  Tip #1: Create a Trusting and Loving Relationship With Your Child The most important thing you can do with your alienated child is work to establish a trusting and loving relationship with them by showing that you’re an ally who cares about them unconditionally.    Try practicing these actions and techniques:  Treat your child like an individual human worthy of having their own opinions, thoughts, and feelings. This may help them understand that they are separate from the targeting parent and capable of making their own choices.  Foster a trusting relationship by avoiding yelling, lecturing, and raising your voice. If your child cheats on a test, you may be tempted to lecture them, but this will only push your child further away. You can still set boundaries by lovingly explaining wrong versus right decisions.  Tip #2: Speak Positively of the Other Parent One of the first things your child will notice is that you refuse to speak badly about the other parent. You might wonder how this is possible if your child is already becoming alienated, but it can work. Imagine this: Every time your child spends time with the targeting parent, they have to hear dismissive comments and angry accusations about you. But when your child spends time with you, nothing like that comes up at all. So even if your child doesn’t realize they are being manipulated at first, they will begin to notice a difference in how their parents talk about one another.  Tip #3: Consult with Family Law Experts On Your Next Steps If you feel helpless in rebuilding your relationship or feel that your child is at the point of no return, then you might need outside professional help, like experienced family law attorneys.  Family law attorneys can help build appropriate custody arrangements, foster mediation between you and the other parent, and ultimately reverse alienation because they aim to start on the right foot.  How Hickey & Hull Law Partners Can Help You With decades of experience specializing in family law, our compassionate team at Hickey & Hull Law Partners is confident that we can help you fix your relationship today. Please fill out our online form for a free consultation, or contact us today for more information. Our River Valley office number is 479.434.2414, and our Northwest Arkansas number is 479.802.6560.

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In the River Valley:
502 Garrison Avenue
Fort Smith, AR 72901
Phone: (479) ‍434-2414
Fax: (479) ‍434-2415

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In Little Rock:
124 W. Capitol Avenue Suite 870
Little Rock, AR 72201
Phone: (479) ‍434-2414
Fax: (479) ‍434-2415

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In Russellville: 

127 East 3rd Street
Russellville, Arkansas 72801

Phone: (479) ‍434-‍2414
Fax: (479) ‍434-‍2415



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In Northwest Arkansas:
409 W. Poplar Street
Rogers, AR 72756
Phone: (479) ‍802-6560
Fax: (479) ‍802-6561

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