There is no disputing that even very young children can grasp the seriousness of divorce. While they may not be entirely clear on the specifics of the divorce itself, they understand that their mother and father are no longer together and that there is a new living arrangement thanks to a child custody/visitation agreement.
In fact, due to their resilient nature, many young children adapt to these new living arrangements rather quickly and look forward to spending time with their noncustodial parent – typically the father – each weekend.
However, as children enter their teen years, it’s not uncommon for them to become less receptive to the idea of weekend visitation and even openly protest such arrangements.
When confronted with this scenario, it’s important for the noncustodial parent to consider the following.
The child is likely not upset with you
While it’s tempting to take it personally – feeling as if your child is mad at you or that you continue to miss out on key moments in their lives – you need to remember that a child’s unresponsiveness to visitation likely has nothing to do with you and everything to do with their age.
As children get older, they naturally want to spend more time with their friends and/or have more engagements (sports, clubs, hobbies, etc.). Consequently, visitation time can make this harder for them to accomplish.
Another consideration is that having to pack up and leave every weekend is a near constant reminder of the divorce, undoubtedly not a pleasant time in their lives.
You do have options
Rather than forcing the child to simply come along with you on scheduled visitation time, you may consider sitting down to have a conversation about the matter. This way, you can both air your concerns/grievances and reach some sort of mutual understanding.
In fact, if you are willing to make some concessions, the issue may even resolve itself.
Some possible concessions include:
- Letting your child spend time with friends or talk on the phone during visitation
- Adjusting your schedule – with permission from the other parent – to accommodate your child’s planned events
- Taking your child to the aforementioned planned events
- Engaging in activities in which your child has an active interest
To learn more about child custody or visitation, contact an experienced and skilled legal professional.
This post is for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.
Stay tuned for more from our Ft. Worth family law blog …
Divorced dads: What to do when your child doesn’t want to see you (The Sacramento Bee)