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Help! My Child Resists Going to See Their Other Parent – What Do I Do?

If you are going through a divorce or have joint or shared custody of your children, you may be struggling with the fact that your child resists going to spend time with their other parent. This can be a very difficult situation to deal with, especially if you don’t know what to do about it. In this article, we will discuss some tips for dealing with a child who resists seeing their other parent. We hope that this information will help you to resolve this issue and make things easier for everyone involved.

  1. Try to Determine Why the Child is Resisting Seeing the Other Parent

If your child is resistant to seeing their other parent, the first thing you should do is try to talk to them about it. Find out why they don’t want to go and see if there is anything you can do to help make the time more enjoyable for them. It’s important to remember that your child may not be resistant to the idea of seeing their other parent but instead may simply be having a hard time dealing with the divorce or their new schedule in general. If this is the case, you may need to seek out counseling or therapy for your child.

  1. Talk to the Other Parent About How to Reduce the Resistance

Assuming the child shares with you a non-safety-related reason for resisting time with the other parent, you may want to consider talking to the other parent about the situation. Ask them if they have any ideas about how to make the parenting time transitions easier for the child. It’s also important to make sure that the visitation schedule is fair and that your child is not being asked to do more than they can handle.

There may also be things like household rules that need to be discussed and agreed upon, as many children will resist transitioning from one home to the next when they know or feel as if they are walking into an “unknown” situation. The lack of routine and consistency is unsettling, but it can be easily managed if both households can agree on basic rules and consistent (or mostly consistent) schedules for things like mealtimes and bedtimes.

  1. What to Do When the Child Has Legitimate Reasons to Resist

However, if your child is resistant to seeing their other parent because there are legitimate reasons, they don’t feel safe going to the other home, the situation needs to be handled very carefully. Keep in mind that in most cases, an active court order may already exist which details the parenting schedule that must be followed by both parents. If you do not follow that schedule without permission of the Court, you could risk having a contempt action filed against you.

If you believe your child needs to have a different schedule for the visits to be restricted in any way or to protect them from a bad situation, you should contact an experienced family court lawyer to discuss your options. Your child’s safety is always the most important thing, so do not hesitate to take whatever measures are necessary to protect them, but make sure that you have a skilled family court lawyer on your side to ensure your protective actions don’t make things worse for you or your child.

  1. What Absolutely NOT to Do in These Situations

There are some things that you should never do if your child is resistant to visiting their other parent. First, you should never badmouth the other parent in front of your child or try to turn them against their other parent, regardless of what they say their reasons are for resisting spending time with the other parent. Keep in mind that the child is emotional and could be exaggerating the situation to gain your sympathy in the hopes that you’ll not make them keep to the parenting time schedule. Even if the child’s reasons are legitimate and are of the “worst-case scenario” variety, the other parent will always be their parent. Bad-mouthing them to the child will come back to bite you once the family court or other child custody professionals become involved to help sort things out.

Second, do not try to hide the child from the other parent or make it difficult for them to exercise their court-ordered parenting time before you have permission from the Court to do so. This will only make things much worse and could result in you being held in contempt of court and potentially losing custody rights altogether. Two wrongs never make a right in family court. Hiding your child or making it difficult for the other parent to see them is often considered a form of child abuse, and those actions will be taken very seriously by the courts and could actually deflect attention away from the real reason the parenting schedule needs to change.


If you are struggling with having your child visit their other parent, there are many resources available to help you through the process. Don’t hesitate to seek out help from a family therapist, parenting coach, or even, in the cases where changes need to be made to an order, an experienced family law attorney. Remember, your children deserve to have a relationship with both parents, so do whatever you can to facilitate that while still keeping them safe.

If you’re struggling with issues surrounding child custody or need help finding the best ways to build a cooperative parenting agreement with your co-parent, talking with an experienced family court attorney will help. Mr. Stevens has provided exceptional legal counsel and support to families throughout South Carolina for over twenty-five years, handling all matters of family law, such as prenuptial agreements, divorce, separation, alimony, and child custody. Our firm is well-equipped to handle all divorce and family law matters, no matter your circumstances. Contact our office at (864) 598-9172 or SCFamilyLaw@offitkurman.com to schedule an initial consultation.


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Author: J. Benjamin Stevens
Articles have been Reprinted with permission from the charlotte observer and Mike Hunter.

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