Raising your child separately from their other parent can cause a great deal of interpersonal friction within your family. This sometimes leads to unacceptable behavior that neither parent should tolerate.
The strain of coparenting has a tendency to bring out parents’ negative traits, especially if they still hold resentment about their breakup or disagree with the way the other parent wishes to raise the child.
Unfortunately, some parents choose to undermine each other and may attempt to manipulate the other parent’s relationship with their child. Often, this develops when one parent does not acknowledge the rights and privileges of the other parent and attempts to control them or control how they communicate with their child. Broadly speaking, this behavior qualifies as indirect parenting time interference.
Protecting parents’ right to communicate
A common form of indirect interference occurs when one parent restricts or prevents the other parent’s ability to communicate with their child. This commonly involves blocking the parent and child from speaking on the phone, or communicating through text messages and other similar platforms.
If you’ve ever seen a movie or read a book where one parent writes letters to their child, only to discover later that the other parent never delivered them, this is a classic form of indirect interference, and a cruel one at that.
Indirect interference may also include refusing to give a child gifts from a partner attempting to control parent-child interactions in some other way.
Protecting parents’ rights to determine their parenting preferences
Another common form of interference may occur if one parent attempts to control the other parent’s time with the child or undermine the other parent’s ability to build a strong relationship. This includes behavior such as speaking negatively about the other parent while the child is present or can hear what is said, or coercing the child to spy on the other parent and report back.
While many parents do not approve of the parenting preferences and styles that another parent uses, as long as these choices do not harm the child in some demonstrable way, place the child in danger or break the law, each parent maintains the right to spend time with their child the way they wish.
If you suspect that your coparent’s behavior qualifies as indirect interference, then you should consider your legal options. Courts may recognize these violations and the offending parent may lose privileges or face some other consequence, which is typically enough to put an end to the bad behavior. Protecting your rights is an important part of being the parent that you wish to be, and to giving your child the best life that you can.