What is Considered Harassment by a Co parent? 7 Ways to Stop

If you are a co-parent, it’s important to know what is considered harassment by a co parent. Co-parents often find themselves in complicated situations. One of the most common problems that co-parents face is harassment from the other parent.

What can you do to stop it? In this blog post, we will discuss seven things you can do to protect yourself from harassment by your co-parent.

what is considered harassment by a co parent

What is considered harassment by a co parent?

Harassment by a co-parent can take many forms. It can be verbal, physical, or emotional. It can be done in person, over the phone, or online.

Many behaviours can be considered harassment by a co-parent.

For example, if one parent repeatedly sends threatening or demeaning text messages, makes unwanted phone calls, or shows up at the other parent’s home or workplace uninvited, that would be considered harassment.

Similarly, if a parent regularly denies the other parent time with their child or withholds important information about the child’s welfare, that would also be considered harassment.

In general, any behaviour that creates a feeling of fear or intimidation in the other parent can be considered harassment.

Here are some more examples of harassment by a co-parent:

  • Making derogatory comments about you to your child
  • Threatening to harm you or your family
  • Spreading rumours about you
  • Damaging your property
  • Verbally abusing you
  • Physically assaulting you
  • Stalking you

In short, there is no way to definitively list all the behaviours that could be considered harassment by a co-parent. If you are feeling scared or intimidated by your co-parent’s behaviour, it likely qualifies as harassment.

Harassment not only causes emotional distress, but it can also hurt your relationship with your child. You should take action to protect yourself from harassment by your co-parent.

What Can You Do to Stop Harassment by a Co-parent?

If your co-parent is harassing you, there are things that you can do to stop it. Here are seven things you can do to protect yourself from harassment by your co-parent.

#1. Call the police:

If it is physical abuse, or if you feel like you or your child are in danger either by stalking or by threatening physical violence, you should call the police immediately. The police can help protect you from further abuse and file charges against your abuser.

If it is not physical abuse, but you are still being harassed, you can call the police and report the harassment. The police may not be able to do much, but they can talk to your co-parent and let them know their behaviour is unacceptable.

#2. Keep the record:

Keep a record of all the harassing behaviours that your co-parent has engaged in. This can be done by keeping a journal, taking screenshots, or saving text messages. This documentation will be helpful if you decide to take legal action against your co-parent.

Write down everything that happened, when, and how you felt. Include as many details as possible. If there are witnesses to the harassment, ensure they get their contact information so they can be called as witnesses if needed.

If you have been the victim of online harassment, take screenshots of the harassing messages and save them. Keeping a record of the harassment will also help you to remember what happened if your case goes to trial.

Especially note what your ex said about your custody and care of the children. Any evidence that your children are being used as pawns in the harassment can be used in the next step of the custody modification petition.

#3. Don’t reply with bad words:

I know it is so much hard to keep your temper in control when someone repeatedly harasses you. But, you have to go to court with clean hands. So, avoid replying with bad words or exchanging heated messages. Because if there is a trial, the court will only see your side of the story and not your co-parent’s harassment.

And, also remember that children often have access to their parent’s phones. So, even if you don’t want your children to see the messages, they might still be able to access them.

If you must communicate with your co-parent, do so calmly and respectfully. This will help to de-escalate the situation and make things less likely to get out of hand.

If you are being harassed online, do not engage with your harasser. This will only worsen the situation and give them more ammunition against you.

Instead, block your co-parent on all social media platforms and change your privacy settings so they cannot see anything you post. If you must communicate with them to exercise visitation rights, do so through a third party, such as an attorney or a mediator.

#4. Make communication boundaries:

If your co-parent repeatedly tries to contact you, it is time to set some boundaries. Let them know that you will only communicate with them through a third party, such as an attorney or a mediator. If they continue to try to contact you directly, do not respond.

Set boundaries don’t mean closing all door of communication. You can’t do that as you have to main the co-parenting relationship for the betterment of your child. For example, you can send a message to your co-parent through the parenting app WeParent so that there is a record of the communication.

Another boundary you can set is to only communicate with your co-parent about matters concerning your child. Do not engage in small talk or personal conversation. This will help to keep the communication focused and will make it less likely that things will escalate.

#5. Keep your child out of it:

Your children should not be involved in the harassment that you are experiencing. They should not be witnesses to any heated exchanges between you and your co-parent.

If your co-parent tries to involve your children in the harassment, document it and report it to the authorities like DCF. Using children to hurt other parents amounts to child alienation.

Make sure your communication with your co-parent focuses on your child and their needs. Do not involve your children in arguments or discussions about the harassment you are experiencing. This will help keep them out of the middle and protect their emotional well-being.

If you have any visitation rights with your children, make sure to exercise them. This will show the court that you are committed to your children and their best interests.

#6. File for a restraining order:

If the harassment you are experiencing is severe, you may need to file for a restraining order. This will require your co-parent to stay away from you and have no contact with you. It can also include other provisions, such as prohibiting them from attending your child’s school or daycare.

If you are feeling unsafe, a restraining order can be a good way to protect yourself from your co-parent. Not all states offer co-parents restraining orders, so check with your local court system.

If you are granted a restraining order, keep it with you at all times and notify the authorities if your co-parent violates it.

#7. File for custody modification:

If the harassment you are experiencing is affecting your ability to parent your child, you may need to file for a custody modification. This will allow you to change the terms of your custody agreement so that your co-parent has less contact with you and your child.

You may claim sole custody or even a change in the visitation schedule. This will depend on the severity of the harassment and your ability to prove it. But, it is not an easy process. Make sure to consult with an attorney before filing.

You have to prove to the court that the harassment you are experiencing affects your ability to parent your child and the child’s best interest. The court will also consider the relationship your child has with each parent.

Courts are reluctant to deprive a child of a relationship with both parents. But, the court may grant your request if the harassment is severe enough and you can prove them.

What to do if other parent keeps harassing you via text message? Watch the below discussion:

FAQs on What is Considered Harassment by a Co parent

How do you respond to a toxic co-parent?

It can be difficult to deal with a toxic co-parent, but there are some strategies you can use to try to minimise the impact of their toxicity.

You are not responsible for their behaviour and cannot change them. Try to maintain as much communication as possible, using email or text if necessary.

This will help you keep a record of what is happening and will also allow you to limit any conversations to only what is necessary. Take care of yourself both emotionally and physically.

Finally, seek out support from friends or family members who can provide understanding and compassion.

How do you deal with a narcissistic coparent?

The best way to deal with a narcissistic co-parent who hurt you is to stay calm and focused on what is best for the child. Build a strong support system of friends and family who can offer advice and assistance when needed. You can navigate parenting challenges with a narcissistic co-parent by staying calm and prepared.

How does harassment between co-parents affect children?

Studies have shown that children who witness or are the target of harassment between their parents are more likely to suffer from anxiety, depression, and problems with relationships and self-esteem.

They’re also more likely to engage in risky behavior like substance abuse. In addition, children who are exposed to parental harassment are more likely to experience symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.

What to do if a co-parent is harassing your child?

Parent harassing their child is one of the nastiest things in the world. If it is something serious, call the police immediately. If it is repeated, keep the documents of every occasion of harassment. Consult an attorney to file a petition for custody modification.

If the court thinks it is necessary, the judge may order a restraining order for the child’s other parent. If the same thing happens, the court may curtail and limit his visitation rights or cancel sole custody due to inappropriate co-parenting.


Harassment by a co-parent is a serious matter that can impact your life and your children’s lives. If you are being harassed, take action to protect yourself and your family.

Set boundaries, document everything, and seek help from the authorities if necessary. Taking these steps will help keep you safe and make it easier to co-parent in the future.

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