It’s normal to be upset after a divorce, but there’s a point at which this becomes malice. If your child’s other parent is acting out to make the divorce more challenging for you or is trying to use the divorce to control you, they may be malicious. Here’s what to know about malicious parent syndrome. 

What Is Malicious Parent Syndrome?  

The phrase “malicious parent syndrome” is a term that describes a set of malicious behaviors that often manifest following a divorce. This occurs when one parent willfully or intentionally causes harm to the other parent in an attempt to maintain control over the divorce narrative. 

It’s not formally classified as a psychological disorder in the  Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) V, however, malicious parents tend to display the same manipulative or controlling behaviors as each other. 

Indicators of a Malicious Parent 

Behaviors of individuals with malicious parent syndrome include:

  • Not allowing visitation even if it was court-ordered
  • Not allowing phone calls or other communication to their other parent while the children are visiting
  • Committing acts of abuse, including verbal and emotional against you or the children
  • Tells lies about your family to make them believe you are doing bad or wrong things  
  • Attempts to get other parties involved in controlling or manipulating you
  • Pretends that they are innocent and tells others that the divorce or other issues are your fault

How a Child Is Impacted by a Malicious Parent

When a malicious parent takes the initiative to control, manipulate, and harm the other parent, the child often ends up suffering psychological harm as well. Studies show that children need a relationship with each of their parents to develop normally, however, those relationships are easily broken at the hands of malicious parenting. Many children who live with a malicious parent will suffer from depression, anxiety, or other mental health conditions. If the malicious parent is successful at manipulating the emotions of the child, they may think that their other parent hated them or abandoned them, even if that isn’t true. 

This can have a deeply negative impact on a child’s emotional and mental development. That said, malicious parents typically pursue their goal of harming the other parent regardless of the impact on the child.

Get Help Dealing with a Malicious Parent Now  

Family legal matters can become needlessly complex when dealing with a malicious parent. Get the assistance you need today by contacting Okaloosa family lawyer T. Martin Knopes for a consultation. We can help you determine your next step. Call now at (850) 683-0700.