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Hostile Aggressive Parenting
Solutions for Parental Aggression © Martyn Carruthers

Online Help: Coaching, Counseling & Therapy

Hostile Aggressive Parents

Most children want good relationships between their parents and with their parents - whether biological or adoptive. This is important in happy families, and even more important during separation, divorce or other crisis. Hostile or aggressive parenting is child abuse!

Hostile aggressive parents interfere with the relationship of a child with the other parent or with a guardian. Such interference could include using emotional blackmail, manipulation, or disabling communication between a child and the alienated parent.

Hostile-aggressive parenting can apply to any adult who cares for any child. Interfering with a healthy relationship between a child and a parent or guardian can harm a child. Family court systems around the world have no standard definitions or criteria to guide lawyers and judges as to which parenting behaviors should be regarded as child abuse or maltreatment.

Hostile-aggressive parenting is common. Does anyone you know:

  1. make children change their surnames?
  2. criticize a parent in the presence of the child?
  3. encourage a child to defy an alienated parent?
  4. manipulate a child's feelings of guilt and sympathy?
  5. use a child as a weapon against an alienated parent?
  6. instruct a child to not communicate with an alienated parent?
  7. claim falsely that a child does not want to speak to an alienated parent?

When Parents Hate Each Other

Hostile-Aggressive Parenting (HAP) is a form of child abuse that we most often see in people who try to control or bully others. It can be a factor in all types of parenting, including sole custody and joint custody.

Common ways to interfere with parent/child access are:

  • claiming that a child is ill
  • ensuring that a child is unavailable
  • scheduling activities during the alienated parentís time
  • raising concerns about the alienated parentís ability to care for a child,

Hostile aggressive parenting and parental alienation manipulates children into distrusting or disliking a parent or guardian. Abusers often claim that they are trying to protect a child from the alienated parent. They may also:

  1. Describe the alienated parent as an abuser
  2. Perceive the alienated parent as altogether bad
  3. Tell children information that they cannot assimilate
  4. Blame the alienated parent for children's health issues
  5. Instruct or encourage a child to call the other parent by a 'bad' name

A parent who incites a child to hate the other parent is guilty of Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) - a child is abused to give an adult an advantage. Children of hostile, aggressive parents may later suffer from chronic anger, anxiety or depression.

Some consequences are immediate, and some delayed for years. Later in life many abused people experience unpleasant emotions from such damage. Common consequences include mentor damage, chronic conflict and chronic anger.

Parents who hurt children may also feel a diminished relationship with their community and a diminished sense of life (it seems to be equally true for agnostics and atheists.)

We help partners prevent partnership breakdown. Aggressive parenting is not gender-based - both fathers and mothers play this terrible game that everybody loses!

My Child Hates Me!

If a child rejects a parent, both the family and the community (and courts) often respond emotionally, usually to support the weaker parent, regardless of any manipulation used to incite the child's rejection or to make a partner seem somehow bad.

In extreme cases, a child victim of hostile parenting may commit abuse and violence against the alienated parent ... or suicide. Affected children may verbally attack or physically or abuse the alienated parents - or themselves.

Who Gets Hurt?

Children are sensitive to family relationships but may be unable to communicate their observations with adult language, and they may be ignored or ridiculed if they try. Such children more often communicate with symptoms.

  • A child may be guided by family or community to reject their parents
  • A child may be manipulated by a parent who wants to punish the other
  • Adopted children may be encouraged to dislike or reject their birth parents
  • A child may be simultaneously manipulated by both parents to reject each other

A child who rejects a parent, the rejected parent and the manipulative parent all risk severe emotional consequences. Children's suffering is often ignored - the parents may feel that they have better things to do than to love for their children in healthy ways.

If hostile aggressive parenting includes covert emotional incest, emotionally entangled children may later suffer predictable partnership and sexual problems.

Alienated Parents

Parental alienation often concerns separation and custody of children. However, most families, communities and courts seem to support biological mothers and deny support or custody to biological or substitute fathers, regardless of facts.

Children are rarely represented by independent lawyers.

Parental Alienation

Either parent can initiate parental alienation.

  1. A custodial parent of pre-adolescent children rejects the partner
  2. The children must show loyalty to that parent by rejecting their other parent
  3. The custodial parent tells the children what lies they must tell
  4. The children support their custodial parent and reject their other parent
  5. The rejection of the other parent may include lies and false memories

Sequence of Parental Alienation Syndrome

Immature parents may express their depression or aggression by withholding love.

  1. The parents experience a crisis that they cannot resolve
  2. Instead of getting help, they become entangled in their crisis
  3. One or both parents neglect the consequences of the crisis on their children
  4. One parent consciously rejects the partner's behavior, beliefs and / or values
  5. A parent rejects the partner's qualities in the child (e.g. don't act like your father!)
  6. The child hides qualities similar to those of the rejected parent
  7. The child identifies with the rejecting parent, who is often perceived as a victim
  8. The child dislikes and represses the dangerous qualities of the rejected parent
  9. The child dislikes people who have similar qualities to the rejected parent
  10. The child rejects the rejected parent - privately or publicly

After Adolescence

Many children suffer from the sometimes vicious tactics that immature parents use to hurt each other. Alienating a child's parent is child abuse. Contact us to manage your emotions and solve relationship problems

Online Help: Coaching, Counseling & Therapy

I thought you were just another therapist - but you were not just.
Not even. Not only.

Plagiarism is theft. Copyright © Martyn Carruthers 2004-2018
All rights reserved.

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Have You Suffered Enough?

 Where are you now? Understand your emotions, fixations and enmeshments
What do you hope for? Know your goals and stop sabotaging yourself
Do you feel resourceful? Learn to develop your inner resources
Do emotions block you? Relationship problems and mentor damage
Do your beliefs limit you? Change limiting beliefs and end dependence
Do you feel connected? Resolve identity issues to recover lost resources
Is your partner happy? Build healthy partnership (or separate peacefully)
Are your children healthy? Happy parents better manage family problems
Do you want team success? Team leaders and their teams develop together
Do you have complex goals? Specialty coaching, counseling & therapy

Plagiarism is theft. Copyright © Martyn Carruthers 1996-2018  All rights reserved. Soulwork Systemic Coaching was primarily developed by Martyn Carruthers to help people solve emotional problems and relationship conflicts to achieve their goals. These concepts and strategies are for general knowledge only. Consult a physician about medical conditions and before changing medical treatment. Don't steal intellectual property ... get permission to post, publish or teach Martyn's work - email