Often when a child is the subject of a custody battle, one parent (or sometimes both) will behave in ways to harm the child’s relationship with the other parent or say things to the child to get the child on his or her side. This type of manipulation is considered to be a form of psychological child abuse and can have devastating effects on the child, including depression and Parental Alienation Syndrome.
Parents who engage in Hostile Aggressive Parenting try to interfere with the child’s relationship with the other parent in a variety of negative ways. Making the child feel guilty about positive interactions with the other parent, speaking badly of the other parent, avoiding communication with the other parent or ignoring the phone when that parent calls, using the child as a weapon or a tool in order to manipulate the actions of the other parent, or making the child feel like he or she is the only parent who truly cares for the child’s well being are just several examples of Hostile Aggressive Parenting.
If you think you may be suffering from HAP or know someone who is, there is a survey on the Hostile Aggressive Parenting website that you can take with results in about twenty minutes. The examples mentioned don’t just include how the Hostile Aggressive parent interacts towards the other parent, the results of HAP on a child can also be present if the parent is badmouthing the child’s step-parent or other important people in the opposite parent’s life in order to gain more control over the child.
Children need to have positive relationships with both parents, even if the parents are not together. When one parent is trying to undermine any good relationship, it places everyone in a bad situation, especially the child. The child may begin to feel guilty about expressing love for the parent that his mother or father despises so much. Hearing negative things about the other parent can damage a child’s self-esteem and lead to depression. Parental Alienation Syndrome often causes a child to express extreme hatred towards one parent or to express extreme discontent at having to spend time with that parent when there is no obvious reason for the dislike or opposition.
For more information on Hostile Aggressive Parenting and Parental Alienation Syndrome, including ways to help and intervention strategies, please visit the Hostile Aggressive Parenting website.
Hostile Aggressive Parenting