Malicious Parent Syndrome: What Is It?

by | Feb 24, 2021 | Custody

Is Your Ex-Spouse Trying To Alienate Your Children Or Making Life Difficult?

Is your child’s other parent making your divorce and child custody proceedings more difficult? Do they seem to want to punish you for the divorce or make things harder on you? You may be dealing with a malicious parent. Here’s what you should know to protect your family. 

Malicious Parent Syndrome Explained 

The definition of “malicious parent syndrome” was first used by well-known family psychologist Ira Turkat to describe a pattern of intentionally malicious behaviors of one parent, usually against the other, after a divorce. 

While not officially recognized as a disorder, malicious parent syndrome can result in significant harm to a family in the wake of a split. Many malicious parents act similarly, engaging in the same type of controlling and manipulative behaviors as one another.

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Signs a Parent May Be Malicious  

Characteristics of malicious parents include:

  • Denying scheduled visitation time
  • Refuses to allow their children to talk to the other parent while in their custody
  • Emotionally or verbally abuses you, your children, and other family members
  • Lies to their children about your family to try to make them turn against you
  • Gets others involved to help control or manipulate you or your children
  • Tries to look innocent to others but puts the blame for the marriage ending or the divorce on you

How Children are Affected by Malicious Parents  

When one parent makes an effort to control or hurt the other parent, it often results in significant psychological harm to the child as well. Experts agree that a child requires a meaningful relationship with both parents for healthy development. That said, a malicious parent can quickly break down these relationships or make them impossible. 

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Depression and anxiety are common in children who have a malicious parent, and the other parent may begin to withdraw from the child in an attempt to protect the child from further harm. Often, malicious parents are successful at making the child believe that their other parent did not care about them or love them, which results in a deep emotional impact on the child that usually lasts a lifetime. Unfortunately, most malicious parents aren’t concerned with the wellbeing of the child and only on their goal to destroy the other parent.

Protect Your Family from a Malicious Parent with the Help of an Attorney 

If you’re dealing with a parent who you believe is acting with malice, your safety and rights may be at stake. Contact Tampa family and divorce lawyer Mindi Lasley today for a consultation to discuss the legal options available to you at 813.873.9047