You’re packing your child’s belongings so they can visit with their other parent.

There’s a fleeting moment when you ask yourself, “What if my child doesn’t want visitation with my ex?”

You have a sinking feeling in your heart because you don’t like being separated from your child. And at the same time you’re happy for your child that they have a relationship with their other parent. That’s how it should be.

While it may have taken some negotiating, you and your ex have worked out a visitation plan. No one is particularly happy but you know it’s a good plan where the children are concerned.

And your child is screaming and crying that they don’t want to leave.

Your heart breaks. As a parent, you want to make your child happy. You know going to see the other parent is in their best interest, even if they don’t see it in this moment.

What do you do if your child appears to not want to visit their other parent?

Unless you have reason to believe visiting the ex is NOT in the best interests of the child, you need to stay strong in your ability to parent through this situation.

• Take a deep breath and recognize this is a difficult situation for your child and for you. You’ve got to be the adult and guide your child through this transition.

• Say nice things about the other parent (even if you have to bite your tongue until it bleeds.) You can’t interfere with a visit and you’ve got to convince your child it is a good thing too.

• Kids can be kids. If it wasn’t their day to visit mom/dad, they might be throwing a temper tantrum over something else.

• Stand firm that they need to go with mom/dad for a visit. Remind them they will come back to your house in a day or a few days.

• Don’t make unreasonable promises or offer a gift for them complying with this visit. Instead, express the importance of visiting with mom/dad.

Divorce and child visitation isn’t simple or easy. Take your time and remember you’re acting in the best interest of your child, even if you have to bite your tongue in the process.

If you have reason to believe your child is unsafe or neglected by their other parent, contact the team at Stuart and Blackwell for legal guidance.