Agreeing out your parenting time plan takes a lot of work and once it is in place, you hope things will go smoothly. While most kids adapt to the new schedule, some have some difficulty with it and some may even refuse to go on scheduled parenting time visits. Don’t be surprised if you are faced with tantrums, refusals to go with the other parent, refusals to communicate at all with the other parent, and complaints about how horrible visitation is. It’s really hard to make your child go when he makes it clear how much he does not want to. You’re torn between your child’s expressed desires and the court order.
The first thing to do is absolve yourself. “It’s not up to me,” you tell your child. “The judge decided this and it’s what we have to do.” If you and your spouse agreed to the plan then tell the child that you and the other parent think it is best for the child. You may also want to tell the child that you and the other parent can always change things if you both agree. In this way to change it from being a power struggle between you and your child to a situation where you are working together to comply with something. Compare it to going to school. Some days your child doesn’t want to go, but she has to.
You and your ex must present a unified front. You might have doubts about the plan, but in front of your child, you need to stand together and work to uphold it. If you have doubts, talk to your lawyer, but work to comply with the order until it is changed. If you and your ex are on the same page, your child cannot play one parent off the other.
Think about why your child is resisting. Often once your child gets to the other parent’s home, everything is fine, so it is the transition that is challenging. Find ways to improve the transition by picking a better time (when your child is not hungry, tired, or stressed) or a more neutral place. Do not use transitions as a time to discuss other issues with your ex (such as child support).
The Sampair Group is ready to be your advocate in your divorce or family court case. We serve all of Maricopa County, Arizona. Call us today.