No matter how hard parents work to establish a visitation schedule that seemingly accommodates all parties, it is not unusual for children to begin refusing to visit their non-custodial parent. These refusals are painful for a non-custodial parent and place the custodial parent in a difficult position. Interfering with court-ordered visitation can lead to contempt charges, but it is hard for a parent to force a child to do something that appears to cause fear or distress. Understanding why children may refuse to attend visitation improves your chances of getting to the bottom of the problem without the court becoming involved.
Parents who get divorced when their mutual children are still quite young may find that their children begin to exhibit signs of separation anxiety when the time for scheduled visitation arrives. Toddlers are susceptible to separation anxiety after moving or in response to tension in their home lives. This form of anxiety is often shown through crying fits, tantrums, and refusal to be physically separated from their primary caregiver. When the time comes for them to leave for a visit with their non-custodial parent the toddler may act out, and it is important that both parents work together to soothe the child until he or she outgrows the anxiety.
Child is Bored
Simple boredom is often a reason that children may not be willing to visit their non-custodial parent. Most children require regular stimulation and activity as part of their development. As a child grows used to not being entertained or active during visitation, they will start resisting those visits. A parent needs to prepare to be actively involved in the children’s life during his or her parenting time. Learning a child’s interests and planning age-appropriate activities will make the child look forward to spending time with both parents.
Feelings of Resentment
As children grow older, they often start resenting the time spent with their non-custodial parent. Once children reach the teenage years or begin participating in certain activities, they may want to spend their weekends or holidays doing the activities of their choice. Having to spend time with a parent instead may frustrate them or negatively affect their ability to participate in certain extracurricular activities. Resentment may turn into rebellion and refusals to visit a parent, making it important to stay up-to-date regarding a growing child’s activities and interests in order to avoid basic conflicts.
When to Seek Help
There are times when parents are unable to cope with their children’s refusal to visit a parent. Once all other methods are exhausted talking to a qualified family law attorney is the best option. The attorneys at Vayman & Teitelbaum are able to provide advice when altering a visitation schedule or parenting time agreement seems necessary. With offices conveniently located in Alpharetta, Lawrenceville, Cummings, and Marietta our law firm is able to assist you with any custody or visitation related need. Contact us today at 678-736-7700 to schedule a consultation to discuss your unique situation.