Being positive in your interactions with your alienated children: “attraction rather than promotion”

I came across this in a list of tips for alienated parents from

#3 – Positive language, always! Avoid the use of negative language.  This is one parents often overlook.  It’s simple and it’s subtle, that’s why it’s missed.  Sometimes we’ll call it “think like the child.”  Examples include:

Instead of, “I miss you…” Use, “I look forward to the next time I see you!” I miss you can put the child in a position to feel guilt or upset.  The second effort is upbeat and positive.

Instead of, “I wish I could have seen that…” Use, “Wow, that’s great to hear and must have been very exciting!” The former conveys a lost opportunity or a regret.  The latter conveys excitement, support, and positive reinforcement regarding whatever experience is the topic.

Find your opportunities to turn a potentially negative message into a positive communication.

Of course sometimes it is also important to tell your kids that you miss them, but I expect that most of us are already doing that! I really like the idea of emphasizing the positive and expressing enthusiasm and excitement about being with your children. I think this would be especially helpful with younger kids. It fits with the goal of being attractive to your children as a pleasant, sane, happy, competent person. 

I know my kids have to listen to a huge amount of complaining and negativity from their dad, mostly about me but about many other people too, and he requires them to be angry along with him. That must be tiring and depressing.

From an organization that I belong to (completely unrelated to parental alienation) I learned the principle of  “attraction rather than promotion”. That is, do not try to convince someone that they should do a certain thing because it would be good for them. Instead, do the thing yourself, and when others see you flourishing, they will be attracted to the idea of trying it too. This seems like good advice for anyone, but it applies particularly well for alienated parents. Promoting ourselves to our children is worse than futile – it is likely to produce a backlash. (see What to Do and What NOT to Do) However we can be attractive to them in spite of the walls they put up. The indirect approach of just being consistently pleasant, reliable, sane and positive will definitely help weaken the hold the alienator has on your child, and shorten the time until your child returns to you.


About Claire Brett-Moran

I am an alienated parent; heartbroken about the damage done, angry and frustrated at the injustice, curious and fascinated by the unfolding mystery, eager to help make things better. In order to protect my children I will not post any details about my identity at this time, but you can contact me if you want to know more.
This entry was posted in Personal Actions, The Psychology of Alienation, What Should I do? and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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