Hostile Aggressive Parenting

What is Hostile Aggressive Parenting?

The Connection to Parental Alienation Syndrome

Parental Alienation Syndrome refers to the actions of one parent “brainwashing” their child to turn against the other parent. Although not yet recognized as a mental health disorder by the medical profession, the term parental alienation syndrome was coined by Psychiatrist Richard A. Gardner in 1985. Gardner noticed that changes in the legal policy, that had started a decade earlier, were having an effect on how divorcing parents were dealing with each other. Parental Alienation Syndrome, as a disorder, still remains controversial in psychological communities, however, it is a legal reality. Family Law Courts are recognizing the severity of this syndrome when determining custody litigation matters. The Courts are embracing the concept of Parental Alienation Syndrome, and it is now becoming an integral concept in custody litigation. If you are a parent involved in some form of custody litigation, and you believe that the other parent may be an alienator, you should consider the possible effects of parental alienation syndrome on your children.

Hostile Aggressive Parenting

(HAP) is often present in cases where Parental Alienation Syndrome is identified. HAP is frequently seen in child custody disputes and refers to the behaviors, and actions of a parent, involved in a course of conduct designed to alienate a child from one parent and align him or her with the other parent. Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) describes the psychological condition of the child. Often, it is the Hostile Aggressive Parenting that is the cause of Parental Alienation Syndrome.

HAP is Child Abuse

Hostile Aggressive Parenting is very serious and damaging. It is actually a form of child abuse. Many experts in both the health care and legal fields consider this to be unhealthy, anti-social, abusive behavior that is emotionally damaging to the targeted child. When a child is persistently influenced with the negative impact and alienation tactics of one parent, the child will usually begin to fear or view the other parent with suspicion.  Divorce and custody litigations are prime examples of when this behavior may be exhibited. Litigation involving custody can become a time in a child´s life where they may be more susceptible or vulnerable to the effects of Hostile Aggressive Parenting.

Sole custody awards, typically result in higher levels of Hostile Aggressive Parenting than reported in joint custody arrangements. This is because there may be a period where the child is spending more time with one parent, giving the presiding parent the opportunity to discredit the other parent in the child´s eyes. In some instances, HAP may even be found when couples are still living together, or any situation where two or more people involved in a child´s life are at odds with each other over how a child should be raised or influenced by the parties.

Any form of interference to a relationship between a child and their parent caused by another is wrong and ultimately causes emotional and psychological harm to the child. Hostile Aggressive Parents are not capable of appreciating the needs of their child, and usually view their child as a possession belonging to them alone and no other person, especially the other parent that the HAP parent is targeting. The disorder varies in severity from parent to parent. While some parents resort to insulting the other parent in front of the child on a daily basis, another parent insists on relocating the child without reason. Some parents will even make false accusations of sexual abuse on the children in an attempt to destroy the child´s relationship with the other parent.

Warning Signs of HAP and PAS

Warning signs of Parental Alienation Syndrome may take place is various forms such as: Blaming the other parent for anything possible, questioning a child about the details of the other parent´s personal life, scheduling activities that conflict with visitation, eavesdropping on phone conversations between the child and the targeted parent, refusing access to a child´s medical/school records, acting hurt or sad if a child wants to see the targeted parent, creating temptations to avoid visitation with the targeted parent, and so on. A child custody dispute involving Hostile Aggressive Parenting will rely on the use of expert witnesses, such as Forensic Psychologists. Courts utilize expert testimony to determine the existence of the impact of Hostile Aggressive Parenting in the form of Parental Alienation Syndrome in the child. Parental Alienation Syndrome is not limited to custody litigation matters. It can often have long-lasting effects and may even result in permanent alienation.

Your Children Are Our Priority. Call us now.

We are well-known for aggressive representation of clients in the toughest divorce and family law cases, contact Figeroux & Associates for a free initial consultation with our skilled New York attorneys for your parental alienation case. If your case is urgent, do not e-mail. Call us immediately.


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