Preparing for empathic responding with an alienated child

Karen Woodall

I said that I would post about using empathy to respond to an alienated child this week and I have been thinking about that and how to best structure this.  It has taken some thought because alienated children are, as many of you will know, incredibly difficult to deal with at times, being variously, over empowered, withdrawn, aloof, obnoxious, dismissive and angry.  Responding to each of these manifestations of the issue of alienation as and when they arise, is your task as the targeted parent.

Lets start with the facts.  Your alienated child is not actually anything other than the tiny little tot you first held in your arms all those years ago.  Underneath the layers of self righteous indignation, unpleasantness and downright arsey attitude, your child remains there, frozen in a sort of bubble which is covered over by the impact of the role corruption they are suffering.  In…

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