Strategies for Supporting Your Child When a Co-Parent Isn’t Showing Up
Posted on: April 11, 2018
Divorcing is a painful process for everyone, especially when there are kids involved. If your child is having an even harder time because your ex is not showing up for their visitation or custody, then it may be up to you to help your child through their disappointment. You can’t force your ex to be accountable but you can take steps to prevent emotional damage for your child. Read on to learn more and then contact Kendall Gkikas & Mitchell, LLP at 909-482-1422 if you need to make changes to your custody agreement.
Tell your children that you love them – often!
A child can easily misunderstand an adult’s lack of dependability for a lack of love for them. You know that’s not true but you must find a way to get it across to your child. Make sure they know that you love them. You can do this with a quick conversation in which you explain that just because their mother / father didn’t show up doesn’t mean they don’t love them. Note that this is not a “one and done” conversation – you’ll need to have it each time your ex disappoints them.
Resist the urge to cover up for your ex
It’s tempting to make an excuse to protect your child’s feelings but this can hurt them in the long run. Your child needs to be able to express that they’re disappointed. You don’t need to badmouth your ex but you don’t have to make excuses either. Just allow your child to have their own reaction to the disappointment.
Have a back-up plan in place
If you know your ex is more likely than not to flake on your child, then you may want to have a backup plan in mind. This can be very helpful in getting your child to feel less disappointed. Just spending time with you can help them truly believe that they’re not alone.
Don’t argue in front of your child
It’s frustrating to watch your ex disappoint your child over and over again. You may want your child to see you standing up for them but this is not in the best interest of your child. They love their parents no matter what they do, and seeing you take a stance against your ex will just put them in an awkward position of feeling as though they have to take sides.
Consider what you can do to make your ex more likely to show up
It’s not your responsibility to make sure your ex does what they agreed to do. However, for the sake of your child, if there’s a simple thing you can do to that will make your ex more likely to show up for your child, then you should do it. For example, if your ex doesn’t want to come to your previously shared home to pick up the kids, offer to have a neutral drop off / pick up location.
If things get really bad and you want to change the conditions of your custody agreement then Kendall Gkikas & Mitchell, LLP is here for you. Contact us at 909-482-1422 to set up your consultation.