I get this question asked a lot. Many times a parent just spent thousands of dollars in a lengthy custody battle and when the visitation schedule starts the child is refusing to see the other parent.
Texas Family Law Judges have been clear on this subject. Although the child may not want to participate in the visitation, this is not a choice for the child to decide. If visitation has been ordered, the visitation should take place.
Remember You Are The Parent
I typically see this occur when the parents have difficulty in co-parenting. When parents are able to co-parent effectively problems such as this seldom arise. It understandable that sometimes you may need to vent about your ex, speaking to your child is never an option. Remember that children no matter what age are extremely impressionable. Children, in general, tend to be “people pleasers” and want to do what they feel you would want. Children can easily pick up on any disdain or animosity you may have towards the other parent.
Talk To Your Child, Don’t Question
Many times after the child comes home from a visitation the parent will interrogate the child about the visit. This questioning may be due to simple curiosity but often is done in an attempt to “catch” the other parent breaking the order. Let your child spend time with the other parent without a barrage of questions when they get home. Children never feel comfortable when they are in the middle of a fight between their parents.
Simply, just talk to your child and find out why they don’t want to go see the other parent. Sometimes it is as simple as the other parent has a different way of disciplining or they don’t have the child’s favorite video game at their house. As hard as it seems you should encourage the child respects the other parent just as you did when you were married.
Counseling & Parenting Classes
Considering speaking with the other parent about attending family counseling. You can choose a counselor that will see the parents and child together. If you feel that most issues are stemming from a failure to co-parent then a parenting class may be the better choice.
Safety and Wellbeing
If the safety and wellbeing of your child is a legitimate concern then you should speak with a family law attorney.