Getting divorced is hard enough. Helping your children go through can seem even worse. Though you may do everything that you can, there are going to be times when your children seem to choose one parent over the other and may decide that they don’t want to spend time with their other parent. However, it is usually temporary and you need to do whatever it takes to ensure that your children spend time with each of you.
Here are some tips when your child doesn’t want to go with his or her other parent.
Don’t put your children in the middle. Some parents push their children about why they don’t want to go. Your child should never be placed in the middle and feel they need to tattle on the other parent. Unless you have reason to believe that they could be endangered in some way by being with the other parent, making sure your child understands that both parents love them and are there to help them can help avoid a making your children feel like they are part of the issues of the divorce.
You need to make sure that you are not the cause. You shouldn’t make your children feel like they have to choose a side. You may have been talking about your ex-spouse and your child overheard you say something less than nice about their other parent. Do not be the cause of the children feeling like they need to align with you and against their other parent.
Don’t take it personally. Though it may be the hardest thing that you ever do, you can’t take it personally if your child doesn’t want to spend time with you. A divorce can be a difficult time for a child. There are times when the change is just too much for a child and they need time to sort things out.
Talk to your children and seek out therapy for them if they are really struggling. Keep open lines of communication with your children. If they are volunteering the reasons they don’t want to go, listen to them. Is something happening over there that makes them want to stay home with you? Are they lonely at the other home? Scared? Are they having a difficult time transitioning to two homes? Therapy or school groups can help children with divorce issues.
If your children volunteer why they don’t want to go the other parent’s house, talk to your ex-spouse about it. Though this can be a very difficult discussion, it is one that needs to be made. Talk about what is bothering your children. See if your ex is able to make changes so that the children want to go over. Suggest that the family seek some therapy together or see if your ex-spouse is willing to take some parenting classes with you or separately.
If that is not possible, make sure that your children still see your ex-spouse regularly. Maybe your children don’t like the new housing arrangements but they still want to see the other parent. Try to discuss with your ex-spouse ways that each of you can help your children transition into their new life and always encourage the children to spend time with each parent.
There are times that some children seem to be more comfortable with one parent over another. Helping your children understand the importance of having both parents in their lives may mean that they will move toward looking forward to spending time with each of you and not feel badly that they are leaving one parent to go to the other parent.
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