Your Family Matters

What do I do if I’m experiencing maternal gatekeeping?

On Behalf of | Jan 23, 2023 | family law

For parents, there is no more important part of life than parenting time. The time you spend with your child is priceless. This is true of both parents. Unfortunately, sometimes, mothers believe that their time is more important than other people’s, even the father’s, which is when they usually begin maternal gatekeeping.

What does maternal gatekeeping mean?

Maternal gatekeeping, at its heart, is about control. It is about control of information and control in access to the child. Now, the mother may justify that control for a myriad of reasons, but for those experiencing it, those reasons mean extraordinarily little. All they see is that they cannot see their child, niece or nephew, grandson or granddaughter, etc.

And, even a Springfield, Illinois, co-parent who has a child custody order in place can experience maternal gatekeeping, although the control may be more informational than actual access, unless the mother is violating the custody order. Information control means that the mother withholds information about the child. This relates to the child’s health, schooling, athletics, religion, social life, etc.

This lack of information inhibits a parent’s ability to bond with a child, or if a bond has already formed, it can slowly break down that bond. Plus, this lack of information is usually coupled with the mother painting a negative verbal narrative of the father to justify or explain the lack of engagement, which further alienates the parent.


The reasons for maternal gatekeeping vary and are different for every Springfield, Illinois, mother. Sometimes, they have nothing to do with the father or family, and they are entirely internal to the mother, like a need for validation. Other times, it could stem from a fear that no one else is responsible enough, or that the child is simply too young. However, there are times where the gatekeeping is done for vengeance-based reasons.

What to do about it

First, you do not just have to take it. If you are married, unmarried or divorced, you have rights as the father. Call your Springfield, Illinois, lawyer, and tell them about the maternal gatekeeping because there are legal remedies, like a child custody modification order, child custody orders, etc.