Children Who Refuse to Visit – Part II of II

If your child is resisting spending time with you, it may be due to your own lack of insight into why. Perhaps you have a problem with anger management and your child has experienced how your spouse feels after a blow-up or worse, has seen the blow-up. Maybe you have been largely missing from the child’s life due to work or other personal circumstances and the child does not feel secure and cared for around you because you haven’t taken the time to learn how to properly care for your child according to your child’s life experiences. The child could be bored at your house because all you do is work and not pay attention to the child during your parenting time. You may not be taking time to listen to your child’s feelings about school, friends and family issues. You may place your child in stressful situations – introducing him to a new mate when he is not yet ready; talking badly about your former spouse to him (even the slightest innuendoes are picked up by children); not being timely taking the child to activities; skipping the child’s activities; not returning the child from parenting time in a timely manner. Maybe there are things you have done to put the child in danger or make the child afraid.

It is easy to blame the former spouse when a child does not want to visit. And it is possible the former spouse is a contributor. But before coming to that conclusion, have some mental health therapy where you are honest with the therapist about your past behavior around your child and what you are doing with your child. You may not even realize how your conduct is affecting your child. A good therapist can help you understand your role and tell you how to correct it. The remedy requires humility, flexibility, giving up control and a deep desire to want to change yourself rather than your child and former spouse. It requires you to be accountable and take the blame rather than deflecting blame on others, including the legal system. This process could take weeks, months or years. If you are not willing to invest the time and money in improving the relationship with your child, trying to enforce your parenting time schedule will likely result in a waste of time and money.

If you work on your issues with a therapist, ask your therapist how you can show your child and your former spouse you have changed. But don’t expect immediate results. It will take time to build trust. Be patient. Even if your efforts prove unsuccessful you will be better off because you will not make the same mistakes again should you end up in another relationship and have more children.

Read Part I here.