The Post-Visitation "Shakedown"

Post-visitation shakedown

Dreading the post-visitation shakedown

When your child is dropped off with your ex following your weekend or other multi-day visitation, a brainwashing parent will usually give your kid(s) a post-visitation “shakedown”.

TheĀ goal of the parent doing this is to extract all the details, looking for those that put the other parent in bad light.

The poor child knows the parent wants to hear only the bad (nevermind that he/she just learned how to, say, ride a bike for the first time during this visit). So the child states the case the alienating parent wants to hear, often exaggerating or even lying.

How do you combat this? You can’t, mainly because you know it’s going on but you can’t prove it. Moreover, you simply can’t control the other parent’s behavior. So what you do is not think about the “shakedown” event. As long as you’re being the best parent you can be and do not engage in the awful behaviors the alienating parent is, you’ll come out fine in the end. And the child will remember the campaign against you eventually, and how fraudulent it was.

This, in turn, turns into the brainwashing boomerang.

It’s a shame what parents will do following a child’s time with a parent. The attempt to strip the bonding moments down and label them something different is without question child abuse.


About John

John Thomas Steinbeck is a parental alienation consultant. He and his son's relationship was under attack in a deplorable campaign of parental alienation. In this blog, John shares his insights, techniques, and tools in combating emotional child abuse. He did it-- today his son's love has been restored-- and you can too!
  • Lori

    My kids dread and even fear the shakedown….. I told them to do whatever they have too – to get buy – and that I will handle their father. I told them I don’t want them to lie and that they have to respect what their dad asks of them. That it’s not anything that they have done that he is just angery.
    * * After 7 years of being divorced – he is still angery – like its the first 6 months* * *I am hoping someday soon he will move past this point

  • Melanie

    Thank you so much for this article. I am deep in the throes of this right now. My ex is an attorney in a small town. He and his new wife, who demands my daughter call her mom, uses scripture, etc. against me to defame me, take phrases of what I’ve done or said (we used to be friends before they married) and turns them on me–are on a “whisper campaign” right now as my daughter has started a new school and the stepmom feels threatened. It seems they are obsessed. The problem is he is now a “minister” and they portray me in such a light that it is impossible to combat it without hurting my daughter. I have never fought him for custody (we have joint but he bullies me enough that he gets what he wants) though I would win. It would kill my daughter though. So, it’s this new interrogation and retribution if she does not side with them that has me worried. Now they are accusing me of not having enough food for her and let me assure she that is ludicrous. I have recently lost weight and for whatever reason, the stepmother trapped my daughter into saying that she (daughter) is not eating and that my problems with weight have directly affected her. This is absolutely untrue. I don’t know what to do. It is difficult to fight both the higher powers of a Messiah complex and the law. Thank you for this outlet. It is a lonely life

  • Paul Collins

    This is an ongoing thing with my ex and I. My son will relay to his mother everything that has happened. It upset me greatly. What I have done to combat this is to debrief my son before returning him to his mothers. Asking him how the weekend was and if there were any issues or problems. The first few times I was told everything was fine but he still let his mother know what she wanted to hear. That has changed though. If he tells me that everything is okay then his mother complains to me that this or that happened I confront my son. He has now learned to let me know if I ask if there are problems with his visit. Complaints from his mother are minimal. If this should ever come up in court I have a journal of our conversations and time together. It is hard but it can be beaten.

  • Stacey

    Lori, your right, I’m getting the same thing with my ex and my children. Its bad enough he has one child against me and now he’s trying to do the same thing with my other child. he digs into the children to find out details and then hand select some of the ones that are not quite as bad and will twist them. I was the one who file for divorce because of the mental abuse. I have left that life behind and started a new one with my children and my new husband. I do hope our ex’s do move on. Funny though, my ex did get remarried but its like he still has time to pick arguements with me and nip pick with our kids.

  • Tracey Opbroek

    Update please