Shared custody arrangements ensure both parents play an active role in their child’s life. When one parent engages in maternal gatekeeping, it can threaten the healthy co-parenting dynamic.
Take steps to protect your rights if the other parent tries to limit your relationship with your child.
Foster open communication
Share your concerns about gatekeeping and express the importance of a collaborative co-parenting relationship. Encourage a dialogue that focuses on the child’s best interests.
Try to establish each parent’s roles and responsibilities in the shared custody arrangement. Work together to outline specific parenting time, decision-making responsibilities and expectations for communication. Having a well-defined plan can help reduce maternal gatekeeping tendencies.
Consistency is key in shared custody arrangements. Stick to agreed-upon schedules and commitments to provide stability for your child. Consistency fosters a sense of security. It can counteract the disruptive effects of maternal gatekeeping.
Keep detailed records of interactions with the other parent. Be sure to document any instances of maternal gatekeeping. The other parent may deny visitation or try to control your relationship with your child. This documentation can be valuable if legal intervention becomes necessary.
If communication breaks down and maternal gatekeeping persists, consider requesting mediation. A neutral third party can help parents find common ground and develop strategies to overcome challenges.
Focus on the child’s well-being
Prioritize the child’s best interests in all discussions and actions. Emphasize the importance of both parents playing active roles in the child’s life. Highlighting the child’s needs can help discourage gatekeeping behaviors in favor of collaboration.
Life circumstances often change. Being open to adjustments in schedules or responsibilities contributes to cooperative co-parenting. A flexible approach can also help reduce tensions associated with maternal gatekeeping.
Consult a family counselor
If maternal gatekeeping persists, a family counselor could help you develop a healthy coparenting relationship. A professional can provide guidance on improving communication and resolving conflicts.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, about 10 million mothers have sole physical custody, compared to just 2 million fathers. Addressing maternal gatekeeping in shared custody requires a proactive and collaborative approach. Understanding the associated behaviors lets you protect your child from their impact.