Advice For Targeted Parents – 4 Great Tips

Targeted Parents

What Should I Do If I Am A Targeted Parent?

Think about where you are as a targeted parent in your high conflict divorce. Are you defeated, ready to give up, and feel nothing you do is answered in positive ways? Are you feeling that you can persist in your efforts to regain a relationship with your alienated child, even though your ex-spouse is making your life a living hell? At times, both scenarios could be true.

My parent coaching practice focuses on moving targeted parents through parent alienation. The clients that make the most progress understand that persistence and goal setting is the best way to approach reuniting with their children. This is not to say that alienated parents do not experience ups and downs in the process. The difference is that these parents are able to push through the setbacks.

Having a strategic plan and setting small goals is essential to moving forward in a positive way when it comes to reuniting with your children. Goal setting gives you a plan for your future and allows you to know where to focus your efforts. Goal setting also provides you with short term motivation.

Targeted parents who reach small goals in the beginning of coaching report feeling hope instead of hopelessness. For example, setting a small goal of trying to get a text message from your child, can lead to phone calls.


4 Tips On How To Make Obtainable Goals

  1. Little Picture & Big Picture
    First, you set the”Long Term Goal.”In the targeted parent’s case, this would be fully reunifying with your child. Then, you set “small goals,” to get to the long-term goals, such as engaging your child through emails or reaching out to your ex. suggesting cooperation.
  2. Create A Daily List of Goals
    Create a”To Do List.”For example, today I am going to make a list of 5 short emails I want to send to my son or daughter over the next two weeks. These emails are not going to tell my side of the story but rather let my child know that I validate and acknowledge their feelings.
  3. Make Goals Realistic
    It is essential that you set goals that are possible to meet. For example, if you have not had contact with your alienated child for 3 years, it is going to take a great deal of persistence on your part to regain contact. Sending one apologetic email is probably not going to get the job done.
  4. Stick With Your Plan
    Once you have begun your process, stick to your daily plan. Review your plan and change it accordingly. Make sure that your goals are realistic to your specific parent alienation situation. If your child is not responding immediately, do not smother them with more emails. Instead, send messages every 4 days instead of every 3 days.

I have found that targeted parents who set realistic goals have a better chance of reuniting with their alienated children. Unrealistic goal setting tends to cause hopelessness leaving the targeted parent wanting to give up quickly. Slow and steady is the approach to take when attempting to reconnect with your alienated child.

Dr. Sue Cornbluth is a nationally recognized parenting expert in high conflict parenting situations. She is a regular mental health contributor for an array of networks and television shows such as NBC, FOX and CBS. Dr. Sue has also contributed to several national publications. Her new best-selling book, Building Self Esteem in Children and Teens Who Are Adopted or Fostered is available now. To find out more about her work, please visit Dr. Sue’s website.


  1. Owassa says:

    I never though of implementing short term and long term goals to reconnect with child. Or even to asess progress. Now with a specific plan this will keep me motivated.

  2. Lynn says:

    But the ex refuses to communicate with me. He’s called the police on me stating that I’m harassing him… he’s a narcissistic pompous ass. .. Now what??

  3. Michael says:

    Sue I think your work is right on and will recommend it to anyone experiencing parential alienation.

    However, for someone who goes through your counseling and is a star pupil implementing positive goals; He/She still has to face a bias family court system and one that is for profit.

    Lawyers can’t make money is parents learn to get along.

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