When a parent does not show up for visitation time, it is detrimental to the relationship with their child. It is hard on a child to keep feeling that they will get time with a parent only to find out that they have once again not shown up.
While you may wish to address this with the court, you also need to handle the fallout in your own home. You have to talk to your child and help them understand why they are not being seen by their parent. Sometimes, the missed visitations are legitimate, like if the other parent is ill or struggling with a heavy work schedule. Other times, they’re simply ignoring their obligation to the child.
What should you do to help your child deal with a parent who does not show up for visitation?
The first thing you should do is allow your child to share their feelings with you. Talk to your child about how they feel when their parent does not arrive on time or at all. If there was a good reason for the other parent not coming to visit the child, you can allow your child to share their feelings, and then explain the situation in an age-appropriate manner.
When the other parent does try to make contact, you should try to support this contact as much as possible, unless you can see that it is harmful to your child. In that case, you may wish to speak with your attorney about limiting visitation times and protecting your child from further disappointment.
One thing you don’t want to do is to create false expectations. Don’t tell your child that the other parent will see their mistake and make up for lost time. It is up to the other parent to make an effort to see your child, and that is not something you can promise for them.
As a parent, you should do as much as you can to have solid communication with the other parent. That way, if the other parent cannot come to a visitation date, you will find out soon enough that you can prepare for your child’s disappointment and make other plans.
If you communicate well, then it is possible to work together to make up missed visitation times for the betterment of your child’s relationship with the other parent. With good communication, it’s more likely that you can get to the bottom of any visitation problems and resolve them.