A frequently asked question from custodial parents is, “What should
I do if my child’s father/mother doesn’t
show up for their visitation?”
The biggest problem with this particular issue is that as a parent, you
see your child being hurt by the lack of follow through on the part of
their non-custodial parent. When the other parent fails to show up to
make use of their parental visitation, you see their pain. And you want
to do something about it. You want to fix it; take away their pain.
The sad truth is that when a parent chooses not to take an active part
in their child’s life, the damage is already done. It’s almost
impossible for children in this situation to avoid feelings of being unloved
or worthless. The feeling of being rejected by a parent will often result
in damage to their self esteem. This is something that you can’t
protect your child from; it’s one of life’s many disappointments.
What you can do is to minimize the negative impact of the absent parent.
Make your goal to help visitations that do occur to go smoothly and to
minimize the destruction that can be caused when they don’t occur
Helping Your Child Cope with Parental Rejection:
Don’t show disappointment, concern or anger about the situation in
front of your child.
Talk with your child and encourage them to share their feelings and reassure
them that you love them.
When talking about the other parent, explain to the child that their absence
is not a reflection of the child’s worth.
Advise the child that their other parent is having problems that are making
it difficult for them to understand how hurt it makes the child feel when
they are absent. Make sure the child knows the problem is not with them,
but with the individual who failed to show up for visitation.
Talk to the other parent and make sure they realize the negative effect
their failure to show has on the child. In some cases, a parent isn’t
emotionally intelligent enough to recognize the importance of their presence.
If the other parent still fails to take advantage of their visitation time
after you have discussed your concerns with them, let it go.
In cases where the non-custodial parent makes plans with your child and
then doesn't show up, always have a back up plan. If they are inconsistent,
you will find that your best response for your child is distraction.
If you need additional help in managing your relationship with your ex
or maintaining a
consistent visitation schedule, contact the Arizona divorce attorneys at
Arizona Family Law Attorneys.