This is a difficult situation that occurs often, where the non-custodial parent feels hurt, betrayed and angry as a result. He or she will naturally begin to wonder if the other parent somehow put the child up to this. At the same time, the residential parent would feel frustrated and worried and left wondering if there’s something going on at the other house or parent that he or she is unaware of.
“It is important to remember that Visitation is not just a schedule, but a connection to both parents”
Whilst a child’s opinion is important, it is not decisive. Children are often not old enough or hold the maturity to dictate their authority in deciding when and if visitation should happen. If children are given that authority, you will only confuse. A child`s connection with both parents should be of outmost priority for their wellbeing.
What do you do?
Here are some checks:
- Encourage your child to have access with the other parent. Explain to your child the importance of spending “bonding time” with the other parent
- Visitation is not subject to a child’s wishes, so do not allow your child to dictate and to make decisions not to exercise access as if he/she is an adult
- Communicate with the other parent about the issue and try to find a solution
If your child continues to refuse access, you should then:
- Record the dates of when this happens and an explanation as to why it happened
- See a child counsellor or child psychologist for help
- Seek help to appoint a parenting coordination lawyer
- Seek help from the family service centre to apply for access-assistance