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Are you guilty of parental gatekeeping?

Wanting the best for their children can sometimes cause parents to act in an overprotective manner. While you may feel that certain circumstances justify such actions, if you overuse certain techniques, you could potentially cause more harm than good in your kids' lives. This type of behavior may need particular attention in cases of child custody.

As a parent with primary custody, you likely have more control over your children's lives than their other parent. As a result, you could potentially pick and choose when to deem a situation safe for your children. When you consider letting your kids spend time with their other parent, you may wish to be aware of the potential harm parental gatekeeping could have.

What is parental gatekeeping?

Though you may not feel overly familiar with the term, you may have acted as a parental gatekeeper at some point. In relation to child custody, you may have carried out actions to prevent your children from seeing their other parent because you felt that the circumstances did not present a safe and welcoming environment. For instance, if you believe that the other parent has abusive tendencies, you may restrict your kids' access to that parent for their own safety.

When is gatekeeping negative?

Though this technique can help keep your children safe, the possibility for abusing that power also exists. For example, if you and the other parent have a fight and you choose to keep the kids away from the parent out of spite, you could set up a scenario that could damage the child-parent relationship over time. Though carrying out this type of action once or twice may not seem harmful, it could have negative impacts if it becomes a common reoccurrence.

Additionally, some parties may even consider unnecessary parental gatekeeping a form of psychological abuse. By intentionally hampering the relationship between the other parent and the kids, you not only punish the parent, but you could also negatively impact your children in the long run.

Can gatekeeping affect custody?

The potential also exists that gatekeeping could have negative impacts on custody arrangements. If gatekeeping habits result in a parent violating the terms of the agreement, legal action may take place. If the court determines that a custodial parent has abused his or her custodial power, custody modifications and other consequences could occur.

If you feel that your children need to stay away from their other parent for their own safety, you may wish to take official legal action in order to modify custody terms. Rather than put yourself at risk of negative consequences due to gatekeeping behavior, learning more about this legal option could prove useful.

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