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What is parental gatekeeping, and how does it affect children?

If you heard that parental gatekeeping might be a problem in your divorce, then you may be concerned about what it is. It refers to when a parent affects the other parent-child relationship in either a positive or negative way.

On its own, this term doesn't necessarily refer to a negative situation, but in legal terms, it generally refers to a parent to appoints themselves as a gatekeeper in their child's life. It may mean that the parent takes power over who the child sees and interacts with, whether that's a family member, friend or the other parent.

Parental gatekeeping can become a serious problem if parents are trying to coparent effectively. It may block communication. One parent may even be attempting to block or exclude the other parent from interacting in the child's life.

When parental gatekeeping becomes extreme, it can morph int o parental alienation, which happens when one parent actually alienates one or all of their children from the other parent, even though they don't deserve to be restricted from seeing them.

In parental gatekeeping and parental alienation, the alienated or estranged parent can become angry and aggressive. This may incite a greater number of conflicts, which has a harmful effect on all relationships.

What do you do if parental gatekeeping is affecting your children?

If you start to notice signs of parental gatekeeping or alienation, it may be time to speak with your attorney. You may want to request psychological exams and to explore options for ensuring that you are able to stay in contact with your children.

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