Parental alienation is a growing problem throughout Michigan and the country as a whole. This alienation occurs when one parent manipulates their child so as to distance him or her from his or her other parent. Some consider this programming to be a form of child abuse, which is why it is imperative to take action if you suspect that your child is being subjected to parental alienation. There are a number of ways that this alienation can occur, though, so it’s important to be observant and document everything.
Do you know about parental gatekeeping?
One way that alienation occurs is through parental gatekeeping. Custodial parents have a lot of control over their children, including whom they can access and who has access to them. This means that the custodial parent is the gatekeeper and can easily distance a child from his or her other parent by simply limiting the amount of information coming in and going out.
What does this look like in practice? Oftentimes, a custodial parent will fail or refuse to release information pertaining to the child’s medical condition, academic status, extracurricular activities, and emotional wellbeing to the child’s noncustodial parent. On the flip side, the custodial parent may never tell the child that the noncustodial parent has been asking about the child or wants to see the child more frequently. Gifts and phone calls may be withheld, and falsehoods may be told to the child to prevent questioning. This leaves the child feeling like he or she is unloved and unwanted by the noncustodial parent.
Do you need help breaking barriers posed by parental gatekeeping?
Not all parental gatekeeping is of nefarious nature. Sometimes custodial parents simply think they know what’s best for their child. Regardless, parental gatekeeping that is so extreme that it damages a child’s relationship with his or her noncustodial parent is unacceptable. That’s why if you think that you’re being alienated from your child in some way, including through parental gatekeeping, then now may be the time to discuss your situation with a skilled family law attorney who can help you fight to protect your child’s best interests.