You and your co-parent worked hard to negotiate a custody agreement that allows both of you to remain actively involved in your child’s life. However, suddenly your child doesn’t want to see their other parent.
Why kids refuse to see a parent
This can happen at any age for many reasons. If you’re their primary caregiver, your children could be experiencing separation anxiety when they’re at their other parent’s house – particularly if they’re very young. Older kids can start refusing to go to one parent’s house because:
- They don’t like the rules there.
- They’re away from their friends.
- They don’t like that parent’s new significant other.
- They and their other parent are constantly fighting.
Find out what the issue is. Assuming it’s not something that endangers your child’s health or safety, you can’t let it prevent you from adhering to the custody and parenting time agreement. If you give in to your child, you could face legal ramifications.
How to mitigate problems
If your child is adamant about not wanting to go to their other parent’s home, it’s up to you to manage the situation. Once you know what the problem is, it’s best if you can work with your co-parent to resolve the matter so that your child feels comfortable in both homes.
Even if you agree with your child that your ex’s new girlfriend is insufferable or that your ex is much too demanding about homework, it’s important not to express that negativity to your child. Both parents have a responsibility to encourage their children to look forward to and enjoy their time at their other home. When your child is resisting spending time with their other parent, being positive and encouraging is more important than ever.
Immediate notification of your co-parent is key
If your child is steadfastly refusing to see their other parent, be sure you notify your co-parent immediately and document the situation. The more the two of you communicate, the less chance there is of being accused of withholding access to your child. You don’t want your ex thinking that you’re encouraging this.
Every situation is unique. That’s why it’s a good idea to also notify your family law attorney of the issue. They can advise you about how to protect your parental rights and work to resolve the issue.