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Visitation woes: What to do if your child doesn’t want to come

On Behalf of | May 15, 2018 | Child Custody

You always have a smile on your face, and you raised your child to have a positive outlook on life. After your divorce, you noticed that your child was becoming more depressed and lethargic, but over time, you thought that it would improve. Recently, you arrived for a scheduled visitation only to hear that your kid did not want to see you.

The shock you must have felt is unmatched. You shouldn’t jump to conclusions right away, because there are many reasons a child could refuse to see you. If you and your ex-spouse don’t have a contentious relationship, it’s unlikely that your child is taking sides. However, there are some reasons your child could refuse to see you that you should take note of.

1. You weren’t at home much, and now your child is fearful

This is a reality for some parents who were the primary breadwinners. You may have worked long hours and provided for your child, but he or she didn’t see you as much as you would have liked. Now, suddenly increasing your time together may feel scary to a young child. Your child may just be anxious about being away from the parent who was at home the majority of the time or could be upset because you seemingly left the home. It’s a good idea to have a discussion with your ex about how to address this problem if it’s the case. Temporarily visiting in a safe place, like the ex-spouse’s home or a neutral location, can help build up your child’s confidence.

2. Your child doesn’t share your interests

Even more simple is the possibility that an older child doesn’t find your home, or you very interesting. As painful as that is, it’s a wake-up call that you need to address. Try getting involved in things that your child enjoys, so you can create a bridge between your interests.

3. You work at home

There is the potential that you’re bringing your child to your home and spending more time doing what you need to do and less time doing what your child wants to do. Working on reports for your job or focusing on a movie isn’t necessarily quality time, so talk to your child about what he or she would like to do when with you.

4. Abuse or parental alienation is a possibility

If you exhaust all other options and can’t find a reason for your child’s behavior, it could be a result of parental alienation. This is when a child takes sides as a result of one parent’s actions. For instance, a mother might talk about how dangerous the child’s father is, making him or her feel scared.

These are a few reasons a child may refuse visitation. Look into them, and seek help if something more serious is going on.

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Attorney Harvey S Lutins