WordPress menus often require customization to enhance user experience, especially when dealing with custom post types and dynamic parent pages. In this guide, we’ll address a common issue where the parent page is not highlighted correctly in the menu when navigating through custom post types.

The Problem:

The user faces a challenge where clicking on a post within a custom post type does not highlight the correct parent page in the menu. They’ve implemented a partial solution using PHP and JavaScript, but it falls short in certain scenarios.

The Current Solution:

The user added a filter to modify the menu CSS classes based on the query parameter ?parent= in the URL. While this works for basic cases, it fails when the parent is within a submenu.

// Fix menu parents
add_filter('nav_menu_css_class', function($classes, $item, $args) {
    if (!isset($_GET['parent']) || empty($_GET['parent'])) return $classes;
    if ($item->object_id == $_GET['parent']) {
        $classes[] = "current_page_item";
        $classes[] = "current-menu-item";
    return $classes;
}, 10, 3);

To address submenu issues, the user resorts to a client-side JavaScript fix, which they consider a temporary solution.

A Simpler Approach:

Another user suggests that the problem might be more straightforward than it seems. If the goal is to highlight the top parent while the post is listed in a submenu, it can be achieved with CSS:

.current-menu-parent a, .current-menu-ancestor a {
    color: #7dca8d; /* Replace with your desired highlighting styles */
However, the original poster points out that this won’t work because the parent doesn’t know it’s active.

JavaScript as a Solution:

Acknowledging the complexity of dynamically altering the active parent based on the user’s origin, the second user suggests using JavaScript. They argue that constant dynamic alterations could strain the database.

jQuery(function() {
    jQuery(".current-menu-item").parents("li").addClass("current-page-ancestor current-menu-ancestor current-menu-parent current_page_parent current_page_ancestor");

Resolving Code Issues:

In the discussion, the second user hints at potential code issues within the custom theme. They emphasize that if a post has a parent set, the CSS solution should work, irrespective of the user’s navigation path.


Customizing WordPress menus requires a delicate balance between server-side and client-side solutions. While the initial PHP code attempted to handle highlighting the active parent, the complexity of dynamic parent determination suggests that a combination of PHP and JavaScript might be necessary. It’s crucial to consider the specific needs of your WordPress setup and carefully debug any code conflicts within your theme.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *