What is Maternal Gate Keeping?

What is Maternal Gatekeeping

What is Maternal Gatekeeping?

Until I read Kelly Rutherford’s 2013 Custody Order, I had never heard of the term: “Maternal gatekeeping” or “Maternal Gatekeeper“.

Here is what was on Wikipedia:

Most “gatekeeping” situations are studied with consenting married couples who are first-time parents. Parenting situation studies using divorced couples and out-of-wedlock parenting relationships that show very similar or identical behavioral characteristics as married couples with children are usually studied as Parental Interference, Parental Alienation, Maternal Alienation, and Abuse by Proxy.

A gatekeeper parent exhibits the following behaviors:

  • Criticizes the way other parent, spouse, or ex-spouse parents
  • Creates unbending or unrealistic standards in order for the other parent to spend time with the children
  • Demeans or undermines the other parent’s efforts at being an authority figure in the child(ren’s) lives
  • Controls all the organizing, delegating, planning, and scheduling in the home
  • Becomes reluctant to let go of some of the responsibility for caring for the family
  • Needs a great deal of validation of their identity as a parent, both from the other parent, spouse, or ex-spouse and from outside the marriage or parenting relationship
  • Believes in the traditional roles assigned to husbands and wives
  • Views the other parent, spouse, or ex-spouse as a helper and not an equal when it comes to household chores and child-care responsibilities
  • Asks the other parent, spouse, or ex-spouse for help and then gives explicit directions on how to accomplish a task

Source: Wikipedia

In following these high-conflict divorces and custody disputes that sometimes tragically lead to Domestic and International Family Abductions, the term parental alienation usually surfaces that usually gets an explosion of criticism from the haters. But from reading the Rutherford Custody Order, the Judge carefully inserts the term maternal gate keeping and over nurturing when discussing Kelly Rutherford’s parenting style. The father meanwhile is given praise for his coparenting skills.

For those of us that have been involved in these high-conflict custody disputes, when we read the Rutherford Custody Order:

“During Skype sessions with the children while the children have been in the Father’s custody, Kelly has cried and caused the children to be upset.” and “Kelly has failed to have photographs of the children’s father in her home” and “one could also describe Kelly’s approach as somewhat overly controlling or what Kelly herself designated as over nurturing.”

I would think that most fathers involved in those high-conflict custody cases could substitute Kelly’s name for the name of their former spouse and you would see similar language in their custody evaluations.

From following the Rutherford Custody Case, it did not surprise me to hear that she parentally kidnapped her children last week. Her actions are somewhat predictable like the other maternal gate keepers, activists or protective parents. What is truly frustrating to observe is that there is an attempt by Rutherford and her legal team to vilify the father in this case as well as his mother. It sounds to me like the father comes from a very good family in Europe and like many of these other cases, the courts feel that it is in the best interests of the children to reside with him. These children really need their mother to settle down and de-escalate this situation. We don’t need to see these children on the cover of the magazines and on social media. They rightfully  deserve their privacy. I can’t seem to understand why parents like Kelly Rutherford cannot look into the eyes of their  children and not see this.




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