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Telling your kids their other parent won’t come for visitation

On Behalf of | May 28, 2021 | Child custody

Joint custody and co-parenting is usually the preferred solution in modern divorces. It gives both parents time with the children and provides the kids with the broadest social support network possible. Unfortunately, a parent asking for joint custody may not do so with the best interests of the children in mind.

After the divorce, a parent might quickly stop showing up or begin to  sporadically cancel their parenting time, often at the last minute. These cancellations are difficult for you because you then must maintain constant responsibility for the children. It can also be hard on the kids, who will likely feel rejected.

How do you tell them about yet another canceled visit?

It is important to keep a positive attitude and try not to point fingers. You probably feel angry or disappointed when you learn that your ex won’t be there to get the kids. You need to suppress your own feelings and focus on the children when you tell them about the change in plans.

They don’t need to see that you are upset, as they may take that personally. Instead, you might want to put things in a more positive light. Try telling them that they won’t be going with their other parent tonight, so you’re going to have a pizza party.

If you can’t make the cancellation into a special event, just keep the explanation simple. Parents have to cancel because something comes up unexpectedly. There should be no judgment toward your ex or any implication that they don’t want to see the children. With this approach, the children know the facts without internalizing any implications about their relationship with the other parent.

If it’s become a consistent issue that you fear will affect the mental health of your kids, you may need to consider modifying your custody order to reflect your ex’s no-show habits.