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Are Child Custody Laws That Treat Parental Gatekeeping Like Child Abuse Long Overdue?

Article here. Excerpt:

'When you first read or hear the words "parental gatekeeping", what do you think about? You may have an image of a parent standing in front of a locked gate, arms crossed with a child on the other side and the other parent trying to get through.

Hold that image.

Parental gatekeeping is not an everyday word intact or separated families use but it has a very real impact and import on child custody cases.

Gatekeeping is simply the act of facilitating or restricting the relationship with a parent and a child. I have found the "facilitative" aspect of it (and the concept of facilitative gatekeeping) a bit of an oxymoron. After all, to facilitate generally means reasonable communication, open access gates and no real need to be a "keeper."

Restrictive parental gatekeeping is just as it sounds. Placing limitations, often through actions, to restrict communication or access to a child. Restrictive gatekeeping can be for the child's protection (often in physical abuse, serious neglect or substance abuse cases) or unreasonable, in an attempt to harm the parent-child relationship. The latter often festers into parental alienation.

Now we come to the question and it's not an easy one. Should a restrictive gatekeeper who is not gatekeeping due to abuse, serious neglect, or real concerns about alcohol or drug abuse but rather to intentionally harm the parent-child relationship be treated just like a parent who has been found to have committed serious, physical child abuse and have custody taken away from him or her? Along with that, is a state like California and others that don't have specific family codes punishing this type of gatekeeping behind on this necessary legislation?'


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