Preschool Teachers’ Perception of parental manipulation affecting Children and Teachers during and after Divorce


Martina Hrgović


The manipulation of children during and after parents’ divorce involves a range of behaviours in which one parent seeks to disrupt the child’s relationship with the other parent. Such behaviours make it difficult for the child to adjust to divorce and can leave long-term negative effects on the child’s development and the relationship with their parents. The research on this behaviour is still scarce, especially outside the family context. Namely, individuals who work in educational institutions and who interact with children on a daily basis and care for their well-being should be able to recognize such behaviours by parents so that they can act in children’s best interests. The aim of this study was to examine the extent to which preschool teachers have experience with parental behaviours that can be characterized as parental manipulation during and after divorce, as well as the extent to which such behaviours are recognized, encountered and undertaken, and what difficulties can be observed in children whose parents are prone to such behaviours. As part of this research, we constructed and tested a scale of parental manipulative behaviours towards children and preschool teachers. The research included 166 preschool teachers, and the results showed that most preschool teachers met with the children whose parents were engaged in the divorce process and that they considered themselves educated enough to recognize critical parental and child behaviours, despite not having the opportunity to be informed, which ultimately turned out to be a disadvantage. It appears that the most common manipulative behaviours encountered in their work are consistent with the expectations found in literature. Furthermore, the results confirmed the assumed structure of the parental manipulative behaviour scale.


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Professional paper