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Symptoms of Hostile Aggressive Parenting

November 1, 2010

Hostile-Aggressive Parenting (HAP) generally can be categorized into three levels, the first being “moderate” (the most common) and the second being “severe” and the third being “critical.” Identifying the behaviors of hostile-aggressive parents is the first step to determining the category and deciding on the necessary corrective actions to be taken.

The majority of hostile-aggressive parents falls into the moderate category. Parents in this category are often able to keep their abusive parenting behavior from being noticed to any great extent by others or they manage to keep it at a level that others will likely turn a blind eye to it. In the severe category, the abusive parenting is more conspicuous, with others in the community being able to identify many of the symptoms. The risk of harm to a child is greater in the serious category than with the items considered as being moderate.

The campaign of a hostile-aggressive parent in the severe category may be almost continual. In the severe category there may be frequent intervention by police and other support agencies as well as open defiance to court custody and access orders. Many of these parents have become quite bold, confident as they are that the system does little to establish consequences for their actions.

In the “critical” category, most people would consider this behavior highly abnormal and even dangerous to the well-being of a child. Intervention is usually required immediately. There are a minority of parents, however, whose Hostile-Aggressive Parenting is so chronic and deep-seated that they may be considered fanatical. Often parents in this category may suffer from emotional or psychological disorders. It is in this category that the hostile-aggressive parent’s behavior towards the friendly parent and the child is likely to be alarming. The hostile parent may utilize a wide variety of hostile and aggressive tactics designed to make life difficult for the friendly parent and to disrupt their child’s relationship with the friendlier parent. The rationalization that the hostile-aggressive parent uses to justify their behavior becomes more frivolous & absurd as the degree of HAP progresses. The hostile-aggressive parent describes the other parent as all bad and attempts to program his or her hate of the other parent into the child in what is described by health care professionals as “Parental Alienation.”

Symptoms of Mild Hostile Aggressive Parenting

Will badmouth the other parent in front of the children. Hostile-Aggressive Parents often say bad things about the other parent and constantly try to put a negative perspective on many of the things that the other parent does, even when the other parent is being reasonable and fair. HAP parents will not justify why they are saying to the child but just say bad things about the other parent.

Not willing to participate in any reasonable form of written communication. Hostile-Aggressive Parents may try to avoid written communication such as letters, e-mails or faxes as these documents generally provide evidence to reveal their abusive and uncooperative behavior. Some HAP parents may send typewritten notes on occasion but often will not put their signature on their notes.

Will tell the other parent and other third parties to deal only with their lawyer at times of minor conflict. The HAP parent wishes to frustrate the other parent and believes that their lawyer will help them makes things more difficult and further frustrate the other party’s efforts to communicate.

Will frustrate normal and healthy telephone communication, such as supervising phone talk with kids, etc. Frustrating telephone communications is one of the most common behaviors that HAP parents demonstrate. The HAP parent will often attempt to frustrate phone communication in the following ways:

  • When the phone rings, they will pick up the phone but then immediately hang up the phone on the calling party.
  • Will not answer the phone when the other parent calls. Often the child may witness their parent let the phone ring & ring numerous time without picking it up.
  • Turn off their answering machine when they see that it is the other parent who is calling which makes it difficult for the other parent to leave messages.
  • Use the call block feature on the phone so that the other party cannot ring through to their number even though the other parent’s actions would not warrant the blocking of calls.
  • Will hang up the phone immediately at the end of a conversation without giving the other parent a chance to respond. Not return phone messages left by the other parent even when left on an answering machine
  • Force the child to speak to the other parent or family members on speakerphone or listen in on the children’s private conversations. Some HAP parents will force the child to converse with the other parent over a speakerphone or will listen in on the child conversation’s so that they can hear their child’s live telephone conversations with the other parent. HAP parents are literally paranoid about anything that their child may say to the other parent or about what the other parent may say to the child.
  • Will order their child not to answer the phone when it rings, thereby limiting the child’s telephone contacts with the other parent. Many children in this situation are aware that their other parent is trying to call but are often too fearful of the HAP parent to pick up the phone even though they would like to.
  • Will grab and take away the phone from the child in the middle of a conversation with the other parent.
  • Remove phones after use and lock them away in a closet or room so that the child has no access to a phone or install phones high up on a wall, out of the reach for smaller children to be able to answer.
  • Will not let the child use a cell phone that the other parent may have provided to the child in an attempt to help overcome some of the telephone communication difficulties. Sometimes the HAP parent will take the cell phone that was given for the child’s use and use it for their personal use and run up a bill which must be paid by the other parent.

Often the child will observe the telephone manners of HAP parent which sets a bad role model for the child. The Hostile-Aggressive Parent wishes to limit the child’s contact with the other parent and frustrate the other parent. In some cases, HAP parents are trying to get the other parent to do something that they can use as an excuse to call police.

Will say that the child does not want to speak to the other parent. Will have the child call the other parent at prescribed times, even court ordered, and then say that the child did not want to speak to the other parent. Very often these children are afraid to even ask as they know the HAP parent will not be happy and may punish them in some ways.

Will not let older children speak for themselves. HAP parents will generally call on behalf of the child even when the child is old or mature enough to relay the information to the other parent. For example, the HAP parent may call and tell the other parent that the child wants to come to their home for lunch. Rather than allowing the child to call himself/herself, the HAP parent will call to give the message.

Will undermine the other parent’s authority. This could range from allowing a young child to stay up far too late at night or allowing the child not to do his/her homework. This is especially harmful with a teenage child as it encourages the child to manipulate one parent against the other to avoid discipline and consequences. Hostile-aggressive parents will allow the child to make decisions which clearly the child should not be making just for the purpose of getting the child to side with the HAP parent.

Will tell the child they cannot alter parenting times outlined on the court order because the court doesn’t allow it. HAP parents try to deceive children by telling them that they cannot spend more time with the other parent because the court Order prohibits it. Although the HAP parent knows otherwise, the HAP parent wants the child to think that it is the court’s fault so that they can deflect blame away from themselves.

Will play on the children’s feeling of guilt and sympathy. Some examples may include telling the child that they will be lonely or not loved if the child leaves to go with the other parent or telling the child that they were really looking forward to the child spending time with them for a specific event or function, even though it was the other parent’s parenting time. Children find it very difficult to express their wishes when put under pressure by the parent they are with at the time or against the wishes of the parent that they perceive to have the most power and control over them.

Will be uncooperative when it comes to working out summer and holiday schedules for children. The hostile-aggressive parent will make all kinds of excuses and employ all sorts of tactics to impede negotiations between the other parent for summer holidays and other holidays throughout the year. The hostile-aggressive parent’s intention is to create uncertainty with the other parent, to create difficulties with the other parent’s schedule and to hopefully through the delay, to minimize the amount of time that the child will have to spend with the other parent. Quite often, an HAP parent will delay matters and then say that they already have things planned with the child, which of course, interferes with the non-custodial parent’s ability to schedule time with the child. The HAP parent is always looking for ways to make sure that the child’s time is scheduled around the HAP parent’s priorities and not around the child’s wishes or the priorities of the other parent.

Fail to involve the other parent in the choice of daycare providers. Quite often the hostile-aggressive parent will chose friends or people they know who will accept their side of the story without questioning them. They will search out to find day care providers who will side with them or bend the truth in their favor to help them make things difficult for the other parent. The daycare workers these parents choose often are ones who they know will not get “involved” to help resolve problems or will keep silent about reporting irregularities involving the children. Such daycare providers become, in effect, collaborative supporters to child abuse.

Choose third parties over the other parent to care for the child if they are unavailable. Choose third parties over the other parent to care for the child when he/she is ill and not in school, regardless of the other parent’s availability and willingness to care for the child. The hostile-aggressive parent will use every opportunity to keep the other parent from having the chance to parent the child regardless of the wishes of the child or other parent so at times such as when the child is ill, the HAP will hire a babysitter in preference to allowing the other parent to care for the child.

Deny or delay access to the children by pretending that they are too sick or have too much homework, etc. The hostile-aggressive parent will use every opportunity to keep the other parent from having the chance to parent the child regardless of the wishes of the child or other parent.

Create difficulties for the children to see the other parent on special occasions.
HAP parents will attempt to prevent the child from being with the other parent on special occasions such as birthdays, Father’s or Mother’s day, special family gatherings, etc. HAP parents can be very innovative in inventing excuses to keep children from seeing the other parent.

Insist that the children be returned precisely on time while not respecting these same rules themselves. HAP parents may make a big issue about when the children are dropped off or picked up. Usually it is the sole custodial parent who is able to make the biggest fuss about this as the non-custodial parent has little ability to raise an objection.

Unwilling to make arrangements when situations arise which reasonably warrant some flexibility. For instance, a hostile parent may refuse to vary parenting time to allow a child to attend events such as dance rehearsal, birthday parties and other events because they are desired by other parent.

Unwilling to any professional involved in helping the parents co-parent the children effectively. Generally, the HAP parent does not want any other third parties involved who may bear witness to their Hostile-Aggressive Parenting. Quite often, the Hostile-aggressive parent will claim that third parties are biased or unprofessional as a way to justify not wanting to have them involved. HAP parents may initially support the involvement of third parties but then reject involvement of these people once they see that the third parties will not support their HAP behaviors.

Make claims of bias against any party involved with helping the family. Generally, the HAP parent will try to make allegations of bias or non-professionalism against anyone who may become involved with helping the family. This may include assessors, social workers, access supervisors, child advocates, etc. HAP mothers will often allege that these people are members or supporters of “radical father’s rights” organizations in an attempt to discredit them before the court. Conversely, an HAP father may allege that the people are radical feminists or closely associated with women’s abuse shelters.

The hostile-aggressive parent will often take his/her child to a professional such as counselor or family doctor to obtain documentation such as letters of support or opinions which may help them win to disrupt the child’s relationship with the other parent. The HAP parent will not want the professionals to obtain any input from the other parent as they do not want the professional to be influenced by information from the friendly parent, which often is only the truth.

Unwilling to consider any kind of fair and equal parenting arrangement for the child. Unwilling to consider any kind of fair and equal parenting arrangement for the child when such an arrangement is desired by the other parent and/or the child. Most Hostile- Aggressive parents cannot bear the thought of the other parent getting the same rights as they do with the children. Although most children can adapt quite well to a variety of parenting arrangements, HAP parents will insist that for reasons of consistency and predictability, the child must be with them for a greater amount of time than with the other parent. The HAP parent will use the “home base” for the child argument.

Unilaterally make plans for the child on the other parent’s access time. HAP parents will sometimes plan activities for the child during the child’s scheduled time to be with the other parent. For instance, a custodial parent may sign the child up for a sports activity which may involve the child’s participation on days that the child will be with the other parent. Although having both parents show cooperation to support a common interest of the child is good, unilaterally planning the child’s time with the other parent this may be considered controlling and abusive when the other parent has less than 50% time share with the child, which is usually the case with most non-custodial parents.

Get the child to place blame and guilt on the other parent. When an HAP parent attempts to make plans for the child and finds that the other parent is not able to accommodate such plans, then the HAP parent will lay blame on the parent and tell the child they can’t go to the event because of the other parent. The HAP parent will say things to the child to make it look like it was the other parent’s fault such as, “you won’t be able to go now because your other parent does not really want you to go there”. The HAP parent will then tell friends and neighbors that the other parent did not want to do something good for the child.

Entice or bribe the child to not want to go with the other parent. Very similar to making plans for the child on the other parent’s time, HAP parents will sometimes entice the child to not want to go with the other parent. For instance, a custodial parent may offer such things as: to take the child to an outing at a cottage, to go boating, on a trip, get a new pet such as a dog or cat, etc. Most of the things that the parent offers are things that they know the child would really like to do or to have. By doing this, the parent instills in the child that materialistic things are more important than the child’s relationship with both of his/her parents.

Not inform the other parent of upcoming school activities, events, or holidays when the child’s regular schedule at school may not be applicable. Very similar to making plans for the child on the other parent’s time, HAP parents will often not pass on notices from school in relation to children’s homework or school trips. HAP parents often want to keep this information from the other parent to show that they have control over the flow of information from the child’s school. Often HAP parents will tell the school that the other parent is not allowed to obtain information from the school without their consent.

Not inform the other parent in a timely manner when the child has been injured. HAP parents will often not inform the other parent if the child has injured themselves, even if the injuries are serious enough that the child had to be taken to the doctor’s office or hospital. The HAP parent will tell the other parent days later and sometimes not until the other parent’s regular parenting time. Sometimes the HAP parent may use the situation to tell the child that the other parent could not be bothered to see them when they were injured.

Not allow the child to have any pictures or memorabilia involving the other parent in the home, including the child’s own room.Discard or sell gifts given by the other parent while they were together. The hostile aggressive parent will “clear house” by throwing out wedding gifts, wedding gowns and rings and other memorabilia relating to the couple’s past relationship. Items which could be of immense value to a child in later years are discarded with little consideration.

Will refuse to participate in activities at the child’s school when the other parent is present. In some cases the other parent may be doing another totally separate activity in the school but the hostile-aggressive parent will not want to even be at the school, knowing the other parent is in the same building.

Will object to the other parent (usually the non custodial parent) taking the child to any kind of counseling or other third party professional. The HAP parent is often fearful of the child disclosing information to outside third parties without their knowledge which may affect their situation with the court. HAP parents are often fearful of third parties asking the child about his/her wishes and preferences. Many HAP parents will use their sole custodial status to prevent anyone professional from speaking to the child so that the child is kept silent.

Attempt to spread their hate and animosity to the friends and/or extended family of the targeted parent. The HAP parent needs to be seen as the better parent and to achieve this goal will resort to many tactics to undermine the credibility and reputation of the other parent. The HAP parent will often speak unfavorably about the other parent to everyone they know.

Claim that there is a potential for conflict with their former spouse to thwart open discussion of the issues. Many HAP parents have difficulty defending their allegations when the other parent is present to defend themselves. To avoid embarrassment and being faced with often is the truth, HAP parents will tend to try to avoid open dialogue or family group conferences which tend to expose the lies of HAP parents. To thwart attendance at such meetings and conferences, HAP parents will often say that they are fearful for their safety to attend such a meeting and that being in the same room with their former spouse could pose a danger to them. Even when security measures are suggested, HAP parents will come up with some other excuse in an attempt to thwart any process which promotes openness and accountability.

Will threaten the child with loss of their love should the child ever want to live with the other parent or should the child show affection towards the other parent or other parent’s extended family. Many HAP parents play on their children’s guilt and tell their child is that they will never be welcomed back in the home again if they ever go to live with the other parent or show greater affection for the other parent.

Will coach the child to “spy” on the other parent or pump the child for information. Many HAP parents will ask the child to report back to them about activities in the other parent’s home and will tell the child to keep their “spying” activities a secret from the other parent. Often HAP parents will interrogate the child for information after each child’s visit with the other parent.

Will make of false claims of parental conflict, while doing nothing to reduce such conflict. In many cases, the HAP parent actually creates the conflict before going to court as a strategy to win custody in court and then blame the other side for the conflict. A dead give away to HAP parents that attempt to use this strategy to their advantage is that they cannot show any real reasonable attempt to have tried to resolve the problem with outside third parties.

Will create conflict with their child just after visits with the other parent and then blame the other parent for being the cause of the conflict with the child. In many cases, the HAP parent will creates conflict with their child many times when the child returns from visits with the other parent. The parent may interrogate the child about the visit, or may say bad things about the other parent to get the child upset. When the child does get upset out of frustration, the HAP parent will report the child’s behavior and report that this problem seems caused by the visits with the other parent. In most cases, the HAP parent is trying to have the child’s access to the other parent reduced by placing blame on the other parent.

Symptoms of Severe Hostile Aggressive Parenting

Use excessive physical discipline on their children. A significant number of HAP parents will use excessive physical discipline bordering assault when disciplining their children. Some children have reported being slapped, pushed around and roughly handled.

Not allow the child to be with or to communicate with the other parent on Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, birthdays and other special occasions. The HAP parent will ignore special days and discourage the child from showing respect for the other parent. Some children may actually wish to communicate with their other parent but are afraid to mention this to their HAP parent who most likely is the custodial parent.

Openly violate court orders and agreements, especially in relation to parenting time. HAP parents will ignore or challenge the authority of almost any court when it comes to parenting time – if they believe that they can get away with it. Hostile-Aggressive parents will constantly look at ways in which to deprive the other parent/guardian of time with the children and will challenge the resolve of the court to correct it. This is most commonly referred to as “access denial.”

Tell the child that the other parent is not their biological parent. An HAP parent will sometimes resort to telling a child that the other parent is not their biological parent. Sometimes this may even be true. However, the HAP parent will cause further emotional abuse to the child by disclosing this to the child at the time of separation in order to make the child believe that they really do not belong to the other parent and that the other parent cannot love them as much because the other parent is not a real parent. Often this strategy is used by a parent when they are trying to invoke parental alienation into the child.

Fabricate false sexual or physical abuse allegations against the other parent involving the children. HAP parents in the severe category will often go so far as to make false sexual or physical abuse allegations which can devastate the other parent. Often HAP parents will claim that the child is “afraid” of the other parent. HAP parents will call police and child welfare protection officials with their fabricated stories, knowing that an investigation often will result in the other parent losing contact with the child for extended periods of time until an investigation is complete.

Force their child to see the other parent under supervised access when there really is no need for supervision. Some HAP parents will use every dirty trick in the book, especially false allegations to force their child to have to visit with the other parent in a very restricted supervised setting. Some HAP parents will even try to force children over the age of eight to visit with their other parent in a supervised facility. The HAP parent uses the supervised access as a form of punishment to the other parent and also as a way to get the child to not want to go to the supervised access center as most of the supervised facilities are very boring for children above the age of eight.

Allege that the non-custodial parent is responsible for the children’s behavior and emotional problems when the children are with the custodial parent. Often children under the control of a custodial HAP parent will exhibit serious behavior problems. They may fight with the HAP parent continuously. The HAP parent will then allege that these behaviors are as a result of the non-custodial parent’s actions and allege that the non-custodial parent is brainwashing the children. HAP parents will attempt to defect any blame on to others in order to hide their HAP behaviors.

Instruct the child’s school not to provide information or report cards to the other parent and/or attempt to keep the other parent from attending school activities or events. Although major research studies have shown that involvement of parents at the child’s school, especially non custodial parents, can be beneficial to the child’s performance at school, HAP parents will use every trick they can to keep the other parent out of their child’s school life. Most commonly, HAP parents will call school officials and tell them that the other parent is not allowed to see the child at any time while the child is at school.

Change their child’s surname. Changing a child’s surname is something done almost exclusively by mothers. HAP parents will sometimes change their child’s name purposely to insult to the other parent or as a show their power over the other parent. HAP parents may change names on school records and other documents, often without following proper legal change of name procedures. Maiden names are often used and in some cases mothers will even change the last name of their child to be the same as their most recent common law spouse. Surnames become a flavor of the day with HAP parents and change as often as they change partners.

Get the child to call the other parent by their first name. In many cases, HAP parents want to humiliate their former spouse and will pressure their child to call the other parent by his/her first name. Quite often while the HAP parent pressures the child to call the other parent by his/her first name, the HAP parent will insist that the child refer to their new partner as “mommy” or “daddy.”

Reject registered mail to them from the other parent. Although most hostile-aggressive parents will try not to leave evidence of their behavior, some in the serious category will even refuse to accept registered mail that may be sent to them regarding their separation, divorce or parenting arrangements.

Provide the school with false or misleading information about the other parent to keep the other parent and family uninvolved. For example, a hostile aggressive parent may provide the names and phone numbers of people to call should their be an emergency at school yet avoid mentioning the other parent or family members, even though they may be more able to provide assistance in the event of an emergency at school or daycare.

Commit acts of vandalism or carelessness against the property of other family members. Such acts could include damaging the other parent’s car or home. During cohabitation, this may include the scenario where the HAP parent throws the other parent’s personal possessions and clothes out on the front lawn or driveway, etc…

Have fits of intense anger/verbal abuse against the other parent in front of the child and/or other third parties. These outbursts by the HAP parent often cause fear and anxiety in the child. These types of outbreaks are an indicator of emotional instability.

May attempt to extort money for additional time with the child Some HAP parents will tell the other parent they can see the child but only if they pay them more money for the privilege. Sometimes the HAP parent can be more subtle by telling the other parent to pay for other expenses, even when the parent may already be paying child support for the child.

Continue to physically or emotionally abuse their child even after the abuse has been brought to their attention by third party professionals. HAP parents in the severe category will often outright refuse to follow the recommendations and advice of mediators, doctors and outside third party professionals even after hostile parenting behaviors have been brought to the attention of the HAP parent. HAP parents will continue their campaign of terror no matter what others have to say to them. Often, HAP parents will not even listen to the advise of their own lawyer.

Have their lawyer attempt to intimidate staff at the child’s school. Unethical lawyers working for HAP parents may attempt to intimidate third parties at the school by telephoning them or writing to them in an attempt to intimidate them. Lawyers have been known to call school officials in an attempt to solicit information favorable to their client which is often done in a manner to distort the truth. Some lawyers will lead school officials to believe that they must restrict access to one parent and that the school must do as the HAP parent tells them to.

Avoid acknowledging their own child should the HAP parent accidentally meet the child and the other parent together in public. HAP parents will often turn and walk away in another direction in a store or shopping mall should they accidentally meet their child with the other parent. The HAP parent’s anger is so strong that it blocks their ability to even act civilly in public.

Refuse to speak to other children of the relationship who has not sided with them. HAP parents will often divide siblings by turning away from any of their own children who do not side with them in their campaign of aggression against the other parent. For example, the HAP parent may not return phone calls from other children in the family or refuse to invite the other children to attend activities or events that they have invited the other “favored” children to attend.

Totally severe any relationship between the child and other step parents and extended step parent family.HAP parents in the severe category generally desire to destroy any positive relationship that their own child may have developed with step parents or step siblings. The HAP parent takes the position that once the relationship is over between the parents, then the relationship that any child may have with the other parent or family is also ended.

Obsessively restrict the child’s access to a telephone. Some HAP parents may restrict all access to a phone in their home by their child in order to prevent the child from communicating with the other parent. Some HAP parents may change their phone service to a cellular service which they keep with them at all times. Some children are not even allowed to know their phone numbers at home, thus preventing phone contact by the child’s friends.

May threaten and/or intimidate their child. The HAP parent may threaten or intimidate a child by telling them things to make them scared or sad such as destroying a pet or refusing to give the child something that the parent had previously promised to give to the child.

Use underhanded tactics to force the child to recant previous statements. Some HAP parents may intimidate or threaten the child and force them to go back on previous statements that they may have made to social workers or police. Forcing children to lie can result in tremendous emotional harm.

Interrogate their child after a visit with the other parent. Some HAP parents will literally interrogate their child immediately or shortly after the visit with the other parent, sometimes to the point of making their child cry into depression. Some HAP parents are literally obsessed with knowing about everything that goes on and what is said with the intent of finding something that they can use against the other parent. Some HAP parents are fearful of what the child may be saying to the other parent.

Make the child write a mean spirited letter to the other parent intended to hurt the other parent or to extort something from them. Such letters may include the child telling his/her non-custodial parent that he/she does not want to see them or that they want more money from the non-custodial parent. Some HAP parents will go so far as to get their children to write hurtful letters to the other parent. Often these HAP parents will dictate to the child what they want the child to write in their letters. Some parents are so disturbed in their parenting as to write the letter and to forge the child’s signature on the letter. Quite often, it is the language that gives away the HAP parents as the words used in such letters are often years ahead of the child’s vocabulary for his/her age and maturity.

Will disrupt their child’s relationship with other children associated with the other parent. Some HAP parents will interfere and try to break off their child’s contact with other children who may be associated with the other parent. The HAP parent wants to cut the child off with having anything to do with the other parent’s home, including having friendships when with the other parent. To erode the child’s relationships with other children, the HAP parent, will refuse to take calls from the other children or tell other children when they call that the child is not available. Over a period of time the other children, just stop calling.

Encourage their child to participate in criminal activities. Some HAP parents have been known to involve their child criminal activities such as shoplifting or stealing. A HAP parent will turn a blind eye should they see things brought back to the house that were likely obtained by illegal methods. Often the HAP parent is afraid to say anything as they know that the only thing that keeps the child loyal to them is the fact that the child has total freedom while at the home of the HAP parent.

Intercept mail intended for the child. Some HAP parents will break the law and intercept letters for the child or letters that the child may be sending out. HAP parents will sometimes open and read letters that have arrived for the child and sometimes destroy letters from the other parent.

Intercept or destroy E mail messages intended for the child. Some HAP parents will find out their child’s password for their e mail account and intercept the child’s messages from the other parent or from other family members. Often the child will not even be aware that mail from other parties is not being received as the HAP parent may erase the messages that they do not want the child to see.

Unilaterally withdraw money and close down bank accounts / RESP’s which were intended for the child.Some HAP parents will withdraw money that was in a joint bank account or RESP intended for the child. They do this in order to take control of the money and to exercise their control over the other parent. Although in some cases these parents may actually take the money and redeposit the money into another account for the child, the actions of the HAP parent is often intended to anger the other parent and to show the other parent that the HAP parent has more influence over the child’s life than the other parent.

Examples of Critical Risk Behaviors/Indicators

The term “Critical Risk Behavior/Indicator” refers to any behavior or action of a parent or guardian which would be considered as so potentially damaging or neglectful to a child’s physical or emotional well-being as to warrant immediate intervention and removal of the child from the care of the parent at the very least on an interim basis. Under many child welfare protection laws, most of these behaviors would be considered as meeting the threshold for child abuse, neglect or maltreatment.

In most cases, the presence of any Critical HAP Behaviors/Indicators listed here will warrant immediate intervention and removal of the parent’s custody rights and comprehensive review of the child’s time with the HAP parent.

Parent plans to abduct or abduct the children and go into hiding. HAP parents may make plans and then flee with the child without any warning and take the child to another state, province and in some cases another country, leaving no trace of where they were taking the child. In some situations, parents have been successful in hiding the children for years.

Parent rejected all efforts to correct HAP behaviors. Some HAP parents exhibit a gross unwillingness or inability to reduce the child’s exposure to HAP influences by literally refusing to follow any recommendations intended to reduce HAP influences after being formally cautioned about the harm that these behaviors could cause the child and the consequences of their actions.

Threats to kill or harm child. Some HAP parents will threaten to kill, to seriously harm, sexually or physically assault or to use a weapon against a child. Some children have reported being thrown against walls, hit with objects and forcefully wrestled and held down on the floor for just doing simple things such as trying to use the phone to speak to their noncustodial parent.

May attempt suicide while caring for the child. Some HAP parents have attempted suicide, threatened suicide or have overdosed on drugs as part of a suicide attempt while they have been caring for a child. Some children have witnessed their parents attempt to take their lives.

Attempted to extort or to blackmail another parent. Some HAP parents will attempt to extort a signature on court documents from the other parent in matters relating to any issue. Often these HAP parents will use denial of access to children as their key weapon to extort or blackmail the other parent.

Attempt murder or physical injury. Some HAP parents may plan and attempt to carry out the act of murdering or maiming the other parent either themselves or through a third party “hit” person.

Child is physically or sexually assaulted by a parent’s partner. In some cases, children will report being physically or sexually assaulted by the parent’s current boyfriend, girlfriend or spouse. Sometimes the parent will help to conceal the abuse from authorities and in some cases become a collaborator to the crime.

Expose the child to excesses of alcohol and drugs. Some HAP parents will have wild parties where there is excessive use of drugs and alcohol, fighting, etc. while the child is staying in the home. Often the child sees these activities and is often feels uncomfortable or afraid of the situation.

Fail to obtain necessary medical treatment for the child. Some HAP parents may refuse to obtain medical treatment for their child when the child is in need of medical treatment.

Escalating involvement in a religious organization.


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3 Comments
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