DiLorenzo & Rush | Counselors of Law
Stepping Up & Standing Out

Parental gatekeeping and how it can harm children

On Behalf of | May 3, 2024 | Family Law

As a non-custodial parent with visitation rights, you cherish the time that you get to spend with your children. But all of that can be taken away seemingly overnight when your children’s custodial parent starts blocking access to your kids. This is a form of parental gatekeeping, which, when abused, can have profoundly negative consequences for your child.

How is parental gatekeeping used?

Parental gatekeeping allows a custodial parent to determine who has access to the child and what information the child receives. This can be good in some situations, such as when a non-custodial parent poses a threat to the child. But it’s also a power that custodial parents can easily abuse.

A disagreement with a non-custodial parent can lead to them no longer taking your calls, your messages not getting through to your child, your visits being cancelled, and being left in the dark about what’s going on with your child.

How parental gatekeeping can harm your child?

If the gatekeeping power is abused, then your child may lose out on the numerous benefits of having an active second parent in their life. They might experience low self-esteem, social isolation, behavioral issues, and poor school performance. Your child might also become more susceptible to other forms of parental alienation, such as being led to believe in false allegations of abuse or neglect.

Your child is unique, so the specific harm that comes to them may vary.

How can you stop abusive parental gatekeeping?

Your only option in these instances is to seek relief from the court. While you might be able to hold your children’s other parent in contempt for failing to abide by the existing custody order, a custody modification might be the best way to protect your children.