For divorcing parents, the issue of custody and visitation can be one of the trickiest to manage. In some cases, this difficulty is compounded if the child resists going on visits with one parent—perhaps even refusing outright.
It’s a scenario that’s frustrating for everyone involved. Understandably, you want to respect your child’s feelings, but not following court-ordered rules can land you in legal hot water.
Be understanding, yet firm
Unless visitation would place the child in harm’s way, Tennessee law often requires it as part of a custodial arrangement. Therefore, even if a child doesn’t want to spend time with their other parent, they may still be asked by the courts to do so.
When a child does not want to visit the other parent, it can be challenging to understand why. Some possible reasons include the following:
- Feelings of confusion about the whole situation
- Not wanting to be separated from their primary caregiver
- Feelings of abandonment or anger towards the other parent
- Not liking the rules of the other household
- They don’t want to be away from familiar surroundings, friends and activities
When speaking with your child about their worries and concerns, it is crucial to approach the conversation with respect, honesty and kindness. Make sure you acknowledge and validate their feelings. Communicating with your child and their other parent is an essential step in determining why visits are not going so smoothly and working towards resolving the issues.
As you help your child move through the difficult situation of divorce and visiting the other parent, it is important to remember that these changes are not easy. Don’t forget to remind them that both parents love them and want what is best for them. Ensuring open dialogue can help foster positive feelings and more enjoyable visits for your child and co-parent.