Advice For Targeted Parents – 4 Great Tips

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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 they must work on themselves, see things from their child’s perspective, create a plan and lead with compassion rather than conflict.

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. Consistency is key. 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.

We Cure Conflict!


  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.

    • Hi Michael

      Your point is valid, however I work with many people who are in court and see great results!

      • Robert Bonzani, M.D. says:

        Please please do not validate the family court system. Maybe it works by you but that is the exception rather than the rule and anything said to the contrary is a farce and an attempt by that person to prop up a system that makes them money.

  4. Hopeless says:

    How do you “fight” against the corrupt legal system of therapists working with lawyers to help that lawyer get a decision in their client’s favor – regardless of the child’s best interest? It’s a 3 ring circus of abusive parent/clever lawyer/immoral therapist. The opposing parent has NO chance. How can Dr. Sue help fight against thHpwis?

  5. Mary says:

    What about those of us who are targeted parents of adult children? My wusband wanted nothing to do with our 4 daughters, but once they turned 18 he was suddenly the concerned parent who was lovingly concerned about what our daughters supposedly went through in dealing with an unstable mother. My two oldest daughters were immediately taken in by his suave demeanor, and thusly ended up not only aliening me, but their two younger sisters. The younger girls were teens at the time and to say that they suffered under the alienation of their father, sisters and brother-in-law is an understatement. When my youngest turned 18 I heard her tell her slightly older sister, ‘Unless I denounce Mom, they will never let me back into the family”. I haven’t heard from her since. Their father suggested that the best way to deal with someone with BPD is to have “no contact”. (BTW, even though he is a vitamin salesmen for Sam’s, he felt confident in HIS diagnosis of me) They believed him….which meant that they completely blocked me from all communication. I only know where 2 of them live. So….what is the solution to this? I am not the only one who is dealing with old children alienation.

  6. Susan Attridge says:

    Have you ever dealt with an alinator who claims that the targeted parent is the alienator as a means to escape accountability?
    19 year old son is alienated from me. Despite my efforts don’t talk to me. Our daughters whom I have primary custody of, have very clear feelings about their dad based on behavior, lies, etc. Naturally I am to blame despite whatever I do to help facilitate healing between them. He says I am the alienator in our divorce. Projection at its finest.
    PS- Thanks you for your videos on FB. Addicted!!

  7. Svenska Dad says:

    My ex wife married me and then did what’s known in the immigrant community as an “INS Divorce”- I was stripped of everything. She took our daughter and fled to NYC then sent our daughter overseas to live with her parents. I heard my daughter was there and flew over and found her in a village… My daughter was 4 years old at the time, it’s the last time I saw her, 2004. She’s recently graduated high school here in the states. I want to see my daughter but will wear long strings of garlic in case her mom’s around

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