Six Ways to Protect Yourself from Being a Targeted Parent

by Danica Joan Dockery, M.Ed.

Parenting is an incredibly challenging task, and it is natural for parents to make mistakes. However, some parents take things too far and engage in hostile aggressive parenting. Hostile aggressive parenting, also known as parental alienation, refers to a situation where one parent manipulates a child or children to turn against the other parent, usually during or after a separation or divorce.

If you are a target of hostile aggressive parenting, it can be a difficult and painful experience. The following are some steps you can take to protect yourself from this type of behavior:

  1. Keep calm and do not react emotionally: Hostile aggressive parenting is intended to provoke a reaction, so it’s essential to remain calm and composed. Avoid engaging in heated arguments or reacting to false accusations as this will only escalate the situation.
  2. Document everything: It’s crucial to document all instances of hostile aggressive behavior, including false accusations, manipulations, and any other form of emotional or psychological abuse. This documentation can serve as evidence in court, and it will help you make your case.
  3. Seek legal help: If you are a target of hostile aggressive parenting, it’s essential to seek legal help. An experienced family law attorney can help you understand your legal rights and options. They can also help you file for custody or modify existing custody arrangements.
  4. Build a support network: Hostile aggressive parenting can be isolating, so it’s important to build a support network. This can include family, friends, therapists, and support groups. Surrounding yourself with people who understand your situation and can provide emotional support will help you cope with the stress and anxiety that comes with this type of parenting.
  5. Maintain contact with your child: Hostile aggressive parenting often involves limiting or denying contact with the other parent. It’s essential to maintain contact with your child, even if it’s through phone calls, emails, or video calls. This will help you stay connected with your child and show them that you care.
  6. Focus on your child’s well-being: The most important thing is to focus on your child’s well-being. Do not engage in negative behavior or badmouth the other parent. Instead, focus on creating a positive environment for your child and doing what is best for them.

In conclusion, hostile aggressive parenting is a challenging situation, but it’s essential to take steps to protect yourself and your child. Remember to stay calm, document everything, seek legal help, build a support network, maintain contact with your child, and focus on your child’s well-being. By doing so, you can navigate this difficult situation and ensure that your child has a positive and healthy relationship with both parents.

Danica Joan Dockery is a certified family mediator, anger management/domestic violence specialist and co-parenting expert, the author of “A Happy Child Co-Parenting Course” a court ordered family stabilization course for parents who are navigating the challenges of co-parenting after a breakup. She is also the founder of Kids Need Both, Inc and co-creator of the Hope4Families.net platform, a collaborative community that provides education, support and resources to families.




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