Divorce or separation of parents is a very difficult thing for minor children to comprehend and adjust to. As a child, you are used to your parents residing in the same household, under one roof. For various reasons, minor children may hesitate to exercise parenting time with their other parent who they don’t spend the majority of the time with, despite the efforts of the residential parent to facilitate same. Depending upon the age of the minor child or children in question, there are various tactics that parents can utilize to try and facilitate parenting time between the minor children and both their parents. One of the best ways to do this is by using therapy.
Many parents believe that because their child is the one having difficulty in adjusting that the child is the one who needs to go to therapy. Or, that only one of the minor children is having difficulty, so that minor child in particular needs therapy. However, in my experience, parenting time will start to happen again when both the parent and the minor child or children participate in therapy together, which is sometimes referred to as “therapeutic visitation”. Parents, as adults, are an authoritative figure who believes they have control over their minor children. However, they cannot control their minor children’s emotions. Putting aside what has “caused” these emotions is important. The children feel the way they feel . The parents have to accept that the minor child or children feel the way that they do and move forward through learning how to handle their fragile relationship with their minor children. The parents also have to adjust, so as to help their children adjust to life in two households. Having a third party neutral involved, such as a therapist, can help the parents learn how they can help their children adjust. It is also beneficial, sometimes, for siblings to attend therapy together. Split sessions are also helpful, where a therapist meets with the child or children first, and then brings in the parent for the second half of the session. With some hard work by both the parents and the minor child or children, with a neutral third party, everyone can adjust accordingly and the relationships can build. Patience is key in situations such as these, and hopefully there is a happy outcome for everyone