Parental gatekeeping is when one parent restricts the relationship between the other parent and a child. This is done through limiting communication or contact with the child.
Sometimes, parental gatekeeping can be a way to keep a child out of harm's way. If one parent has been abusive to a child, this gatekeeping can benefit both parties. Gatekeeping can also be used to harm the relationship between the parent and the child.
Examples of gatekeeping activities are:
- Criticizing the parenting methods of the other parent
- Undermining the authority of the other parent
- Creating unrealistic expectations for the other parent to see the child
- Directing the other parent on how to interact with the child
- Not willingly letting go of any responsibilities as a parent
How this is Affected By Child Custody Rulings
Gatekeeping can be a result of child custody cases that deems one parent as being more fit for custody than the other. One parent can become obsessed with what the children do when they are not around and worry about the amount of time spent with the other parent.
If not careful, parental gatekeeping can become parental alienation. Parental alienation is when a parent completely alienates a child from the other parent. Parental alienation has legal consequences that can involve custody changing hands.
California is one of a few states that does not have family codes relating to child custody that punishes gatekeeping activities. If you are worried about the gatekeeping actions of your former spouse with your children, contact Claery & Hammond today.