What is Counter-Parenting? Learn How does Counter-Parenting Work


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Counter-parenting is a harmful and damaging form of parenting that involves actively working against a co-parent to undermine their method of child-rearing. It is often motivated by a desire to hurt the other parent or to gain control over how the child is raised.

Counter-parents can have serious negative consequences for children, including emotional turmoil, confusion, and a lack of security. It can also damage relationships between parents and children and create a toxic environment for everyone involved.

If you are dealing with a counter-parent, it is important to do what you can to protect your child from their harmful actions and to provide a stable, supportive environment for them. 

A few things to keep in mind are:

  • It is important to remember that children are not pawns or tools to be used in adult conflicts. They are individuals with their own needs and feelings, and it is not fair to subject them to the negative effects of counter-parenting.
  • It is essential to focus on the needs and well-being of your child rather than getting caught up in conflicts with the other parent. This may involve setting aside your emotions and working with the other parent to find solutions that are in your child’s best interests.
  • It can be helpful to seek outside help, such as from a mediator or counselor, to try to resolve conflicts and find a more productive way to co-parent.
  • It is also important to remember that healing takes time, and it may be necessary to be patient and supportive as your child works through any challenges they may face. It may be beneficial to take support from friends, family, or a therapist to help you and your child cope with the challenges of counter-parenting.

Read More: Can you live by yourself at 17 with Parental Consent

Why should we Practice Counter-Parenting?

What is Counter-Parenting

Although it is usually mentally unsettling for children to bad mouth the other parent to them because the healthiest for children is that both parents take care of them together because children need and love both parents. However, sometimes it is in children’s best interest to be a counter-parent because a co-parent is genuinely unfit, and your children are better off without them.

Whether it is a mental health problem, drug addiction, sex addiction, anger issues, or similar issues, sometimes it is better not to expose children to their dysfunctional parents. 

Another reason is when parental alienation exists from the other side, which is displayed as:
  • A child being reprimanded by one parent for spending time with the other parent, whether explicitly or covertly
  • A parent forbidding their child from seeing the other parent
  • One parent is interfering with a child’s communication with the other parent via phone calls, emails, or letters.
  • Using a protection order, one parent attempts to keep their child from speaking to the other parent.

If the other parent is actively trying to almost snatch your kid from you, you obviously will be motivated to react and try to win your child back. For that, you must put in a lot of effort.

You must make more room in your child’s heart for yourself and open up their eyes to your partner’s unreasonable behavior. If you have to go the extra mile to spoil your partner’s image in front of your child, there’s nothing wrong with doing so because your partner is also doing the same.

Please don’t overdo it, though, and consider your child’s well-being a priority. But let me tell you, if you’re too busy doing “the right thing,” in no time, your child will not only grow against you but, likely, they will not even recognize you.

Tips to Practice Counter Parenting

Following are some tips for Counter Parenting:

  • Set clear expectations, and tell your child you want them to prioritize you over your spouse subtly.
  • Be dependable and consistent, and show your child how the other parent isn’t
  • Express love and gratitude, of course, more than your spouse

3 Ways to be an Affective Parent in Response to Defiance

  • Search for Underlying Problems as defiance may result from a variety of situations.
  • Use disciplinary tactics consistently, like before deciding on a punishment, take a break.
  • Make family time a priority and celebrate your child’s accomplishments, no matter how small.

How does Counter-Parenting Work?

What is Counter-Parenting

Step 1: Set your goals

You should be aware that Counter Parenting requires consistency and focus and that the first step in achieving your goals is to set them. It’s critical when counter-parenting to remember that having a friendly and healthy relationship with your child matters most.

Your objective should be to make your child somewhat reliant on you (this isn’t necessarily bad; it’s just to give them the feeling that you are there for them no matter what).

It would be best if you were someone your child could count on, a source of support at trying times, and a friend with whom they can have fun and celebrate success.

Step 2: Learn about your child’s world.

Parents need to learn about their child’s world, but it can be difficult when you’re in an environment that doesn’t support your child’s interests or lifestyle. Again, you’ll have to work hard to find out what is trendy these days, what your child is taking an interest in. what is important to them, and most importantly, what makes them happy and content.

Also, find support, and make sure that you have people in your corner who can help you with different activities you want to do with your child and people who understand where you’re coming from – even if they don’t agree with every decision you make.

Step 3: Communicate your expectations clearly

It’s essential to have realistic expectations of what your children will be willing to do and give them as much time as possible. Counter-parenting takes a lot of patience and understanding, so you must communicate your expectations.

For example, if you want them to spend more time with you, ensure they understand that this is your priority. Communicate effectively whatever works for you according to your child’s personality.

Step 4: Provide parenting tools and opportunities to practice

Following are eight effective parenting strategies for your child:

  • Stay present.
  • Set a good example.
  • Feel sympathetic.
  • Constructively establish boundaries.
  • Find the source of the issue.
  • Consider where they are in terms of development.
  • Make the most of errors as teaching opportunities.
  • Carry out

Step 5: Be a good role model

It’s essential to be a good role model. It can be challenging, but it is necessary. You can show your kids how you respond to challenging situations and live your life.

Step 6: Identify and address problems early

If you feel your child acts differently with you after spending time with their other parent, you should identify what they are being fed and address it as early as possible.

Step 7: When your child misbehaves, respond immediately and consistently

The best way to create a respectful, caring relationship is by responding immediately and consistently. Parents must intervene lovingly but firmly when children misbehave, setting limits and creating expectations. It would be best to communicate with your child how they will discipline them; otherwise, you risk being inconsistent and confusing.

Step 8: Be empathetic, not punitive

Every parent is different, and every child is too. But a few universally accepted truths about parenting are worth mentioning. First and foremost, being empathetic towards your children is a must. Second, kids should be able to figure out how they want to live without being micromanaged by a helicopter parent; let them explore and make mistakes without chastising or punishing.

Step 9: Be flexible – change doesn’t happen overnight!

We’ve all been there- your children are driving you crazy, and you’re at your wit’s end. It can make you think that no matter what you do, your kids don’t respond. If this is the case, you might be trying too hard to force them into a mold they have yet to be ready for. You will have to be extra patient and understanding to help your kids grow up to be happy adults who are confident in their choices.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is it vital to acquire parenting knowledge?

By promoting positive parenting techniques that enhance the security, well-being, and permanence of children and families, parent education lowers the likelihood of child abuse and neglect.

What role does the most crucial parenting play?

For a child to complete critical developmental tasks, the parent’s proper role is to encourage them, support them, and give them access to activities.

What parenting ability is the most crucial?

Recent research of 2,000 parents identified the most crucial abilities for raising healthy, content, and successful children. Top of the list is showing affection and love. Then, as a surprise, some child-focused actions are less beneficial than stress management and having positive relationships with the other parents.

When should co-parenting be avoided?

Cooperative co-parenting is hampered by three main circumstances:

  • When a co-parent is genuinely unfit.
  • When parental alienation exists.
  • When a co-parent is plain uncooperative.

My Opinion

It is important to recognize that every family and every situation is different, and it is up to each parent to determine what will work best for their family. It may be helpful to seek the advice and support of trusted friends, family, or professionals as you work to find what works best for your family and to support the healing and growth of your children.

Remember to be patient with yourself and your children and to be understanding and supportive as you work through any challenges.

Working on healing and improving your relationship with your child is never too late. Suppose you and your partner have contributed to any scars or challenges your child may be experiencing. If you are to be held responsible for your actions, you must try to repair the damage you have caused.

Here are a few steps you can take to try to fix the situation:

Acknowledge your mistakes:

It is important to take responsibility for your actions and to apologize to your child for any hurt or harm you may have caused.

Make amends:

Depending on the situation, making amends for any harm you may have caused may be appropriate. This could involve apologizing, offering compensation, or changing your behavior to prevent similar situations.

Seek support:

It can be helpful to seek the support of a therapist or counselor to help you work through any issues and to develop healthy communication and conflict-resolution skills.

Foster positive relationships:

Make an effort to foster positive relationships with the co-parent and your children and to create a supportive and loving environment for them. This may involve spending quality time together, showing interest in their lives, and being there for them emotionally.


Overall, it is important for parents to be consistent, loving, and supportive and to do what they can to protect their children from the negative effects of counter-parenting.

The key is to be patient, understanding, and kind and to make a consistent effort to repair any damage that may have been done and to improve your relationship with your child. It may take time, but effort and determination can heal and strengthen your relationship with your child.

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