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Newsflash:
Thursday, 22 March 2001

My Son's Father Is Brainwashing Him Against Me

Written by  Sylvia B. Rimm, PhD

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QDear Dr. Sylvia:
I am a mother in the middle of a divorce and a vicious custody battle over my 12-year-old son. My son's father is brainwashing him against me, but my son's therapist has been telling him not to say anything negative against his father. How can I get these awful ideas about me out of my son's head? --

Victimized Mom

ADear Victimized Mom: Your son's therapist is giving your son good advice. Negative messages about the other parent not only cause children to feel torn between parents but typically backfire on both parents. Feel free to explain your husband's accusations about you, and try to keep interesting and good things happening between you and your son. If you have some brothers around who can impress upon your son what a good person you are, that may help. The counselor may also help your son to see your value.

If your former husband will see a counselor about parenting, he's likely to be advised not to denigrate you, so it would make sense to encourage him to find a good counselor. If any counselor sees both of you together, that counselor is likely to help you give appropriate, consistent messages to your son. Even one or two meetings together can make an important, positive difference for your son's future adjustment.

Last modified on Thursday, 26 May 2011 08:28
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Sylvia B. Rimm, PhD

Sylvia B. Rimm, PhD

Dr. Sylvia Rimm is a psychologist and best-selling author with a national following. She is the director of the Family Achievement Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio, and is a clinical professor at Case Western Reserve School of Medicine.

Website: /images/stories/sylvia_rimm.jpg

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