IDENTIFYING GATEKEEPING IN CUSTODY CASES as well as as well as RESOLVING CONFLICTS using a GATEKEEPER Lately, I have had several cases involving gatekeepers.
In custody cases, a parental “gatekeeper” can be on of which seeks to control the relationship the additional parent has with the children. the idea can be most often the mother. “Gatekeeping” usually can be established long before the separation of the parents. A 1999 study by BYU Family Studies Center researched the concept. Conducted by Sarah M. Allen as well as Alan J. Hawkings, theresearch revealed of which 20-25% of married women fall into This particular definition of being a “maternal gatekeeper”.
Obviously, when the marriage works, This particular may not necessarily be such a problem. Gatekeepers are generally primary caretakers who are very attentive to the details of the children. the idea only becomes a problem when during or after a separation, the gatekeeper escalates This particular “control” to frustrate the additional’s custodial time. When left unchecked, gatekeeping by one parent can thwart visitations, completely alienate as well as destroy the additional parent’s relationship with their children. So how do you identify a “gatekeeper”? Some examples:
He or she criticizes the way the additional parent does something, i.e., “of which’s not how you change her diaper. I’ll show you!”;
He or she can be very black as well as white inflexible, setting unrealistic standards for the additional parent, i.e., “You should have foreseen traffic on a Friday – you are half hour late, as well as at This particular point Bobby’s bedtime routine can be completely messed up as well as if he flunks tomorrow’s exam, the idea’s your fault!” ;
He or she Demeans or undermines additional parent’s efforts at being an authority figure inside child(ren’s) lives, i.e., “You’ve never held a job longer than 3 months as well as you want to teach her what stability can be?”;
He or she unnecessarily supervises the additional parent’s duties as well as tasks, i.e., “I noticed you didn’t wipe her clean, as well as the idea gave her a diaper rash. See?”;
He or she controls the calendar relating to the children’s activities;
He or she relies on his or her role as a parent as sole validation of identity, i.e., they have no additional focus additional than the children;
He or she feels threatened or at a loss if the child(ren) gets hurt as well as runs to the additional parent for comfort;
He or she flips back as well as forth labeling how Great you are as a parent based on your current relationship, i.e, “You are a wonderful father – thank you for taking care of him all day while I spa’ed” vs., “I can’t believe you got a brand new girlfriend – you are a terrible father, I will never let you see him based on your disgusting behavior!”
In custody cases, a parental gatekeeper will likely “allow” you to have more time with the children if you pacify her every demand as well as keep her happy. So, you may find yourself at her complete whim as well as mercy. If you have a written agreement for custody, the idea can be not unusual for a gatekeeper to deviate coming from the custody agreement as well as “allow” more visitation time if things are going swimmingly. However, as soon as there can be a conflict, the “gatekeeper” closes the gate as well as disallows any further time.
If you find yourself in a custody battle using a gatekeeper, here are some pointers to keep the peace:
1. Don’t undermine her role as a parent. of which can be her whole identity. When you criticize anything related to her parenting, she will lash out as well as exert control using the only power she has. Instead, always commend her on the job she has done. She may be a control freak however unless there are immediate dangers to the child, use your compassion.
2. Don’t let her undermine your role as a parent as well as drag you down to her level. She may say you suck. She may say vile things about you as well as your habits as well as morals. however you are still the child’s parent. Instead of eye for an eye, you stick to the facts – you were there when child was born. You helped with night feedings. Home work. Bath time. You throw the football every weekend. You are every bit as involved as she can be, as well as your child has benefited. Here can be a golden pointer: When the additional side can be low-blowing you in court, as well as you don’t fight her way, the Judges actually respect you more. If she can be nit-picking you for failing to give the kid a jacket, or the inhaler – etc., she can be showing her true colors as a maternal gatekeeper. Without you having to say a thing.
3. Make sure your parenting plan can be specific as well as follow the idea. NEVER have a parenting plan of which say, you will have 40%. Or 20%. or 50-50! Instead, fashion an agreement of which works in terms of the children’s activities, what the children are accustomed to, as well as stick with the idea. Anticipate change. Obviously, things may change. If the idea does, put the idea in writing. Don’t expect of which her happy mood will stay once you get a brand new girlfriend.
4. Check in. (Reasonably). the idea drives gatekeepers crazy when they are inside dark. Remember, This particular may be their ONLY identity – a parent. If the idea isn’t impossible, call mama as well as tell her kid just called to say i love you. Call mama as well as say Kid just saw a horse, as well as the idea reminded her of the time of which she rode a horse. After drop-off, tell mama of which Kid napped for 1.5 hours, so can be Great for extra cuddle time for her. You can view the idea as “kissing up”, however the idea works wonders for your relationship. You may also find of which the idea’s kind of fun to be a “gatekeeper” yourself.
5. The more you bond, the less she’ll take. Remember, the bond you have with your children can be unique as well as special to YOU. Don’t ruin the bond by talking about the additional parent. If Bobby can be with you, cherish of which time, as well as never every bash mommy. Soon Bobby will like spending time more with you.
These are obviously very simple tips when the gatekeeping can be not severe. If the idea arises to the level of parental alienation syndrome, I would likely recommend you seek counseling.