You feel like the kids are depressed every time they come visit you. Due to a busy work schedule and limited visitation and custody time, you only see them once a month. Every time they show up, they seem down about having to leave your ex.
Many parents assume that this means:
- The kids like the other parent far more.
- The kids do not feel safe being around the noncustodial parent.
- The kids feel like they’re being neglected or ignored.
This isn’t necessarily true. You may worry about it, because you cherish these times. You want to see your kids and you wish you could do it more. The last thing you want is a child who sullenly waits out the time he or she has to spend with you and then happily runs home as soon as your ex shows up. But don’t assume that attitude is aimed at you.
The reality is just that change is hard for kids. Your ex’s house is their comfort zone. Everything they own — books, toys, clothes and the like — is there. They feel at home. They don’t even think about it, but they’re more relaxed and happier because that’s where they’re used to living. Readjustment to a new place takes time and they may not enjoy it.
Don’t take it personally. Just focus on connecting with the kids. Make them feel welcomed and loved. As your relationship with them grows stronger, they’ll be happier to come visit.
Do you feel like you deserve more time with the kids? If you’re just not getting enough, be sure you understand all of your legal options.
Source: Parenting the Modern Family, “How to Prepare Your Child For Their Summer Visitation with the Non-Custodial Parent,” Becca Ballinger, accessed Dec. 28, 2017