Child refusing visitation


#1

I have perm full custody. Ex has visitation ONLY. He sees kids every other weekend. The past 2 visits my daughter, 13, has been reluctant to go. The first time she came home and cried for 2 hours that she “hated him and going there” and “she never wanted to go again”.
This past weekend, she called on Sat afternoon asking to be picked up bc again, she “hated him and hated being there”. I called ex to try to touch base with him as to what was going on and his thoughts on the situation. He wouldn’t talk to me about things only to say she wasn’t going to leave. He also told our daughter that she wasn’t “allowed” to call me again.
As much as I wanted to just go get her, I felt that would have created a HUGE issue and I felt that she was reasonably safe to stay until the visit ended. She agreed that she would stay but she reiterated that she “was not going again”.
My question-at what age(if any) can a child decide that they do not want to go for visitation?


#2

This isn’t legal advice just mom advice. Most teenage girls hate their dad at some point. Their relationship is going to go through changes. The best thing you can do is be a mom in this situation. We want to protect our children but in cases like this, if you come to her aid and validate her feelings you are going to further the alienation between them. She will think she is right. You don’t know what its about or why the issues but thirteen is an age when master manipulator comes into play. She will play on your emotion if you let her. I see this with my daughter and her friends. They need to work out their relationship on their own. Step back for awhile and let them guide their own way.

As custodial parent you must encourage their relationship and facilitate visitation.


#3

I would have to agree with 4them. Her behavior and feelings towards her father are similar to what I went through…I believe, if I had had the option to stay with my mother at that age, I would have gladly done so. I don’t think it was anything specific…

Your job as custodial parent is to make sure that the visitations take place but in the same aspect you don’t want her to think you aren’t there for her. It’s not a good idea to teach any teenager that an uncomfortable situation can always be fixed. Sometimes, they have to deal with their feelings instead of running from them.
I suggest that you talk to them both again, let her know that you will not come pick her up since that is her father’s time with her, but that she can call you anytime she needs to. Let things calm down some and then talk to your ex. Let him know that he does not need to prohibit her calling you because you two are on the same page. If she does call you, don’t try to get in the middle of it. Listen to her…console her if necessary, but don’t make the mistake of thinking that you can fix this. Though I’m sure that the need to make things better for her can cloud your judgement it sounds like you are trying to make sure you do the right thing for her in this.
Children can not make the decision not to visit their parents, and unless the parent is a danger to the child, a court will not allow the custodial parent to cease visitations. The courts can not force a teenager to do much and they realize this, which is why who a teenage child wants to live with is taken into consideration more in custody modifications than say what a child of 10 wants. But at the same time, they will not look kindly on the custodial parent who ceases visitations completely without cause.

You said he sees the kids every other weekend…what’s the other child’s reaction to this situation?


#4

Technically a child cannot decide on whether or not they want to have visitation with a parent until they are 18, however realistically as children become teenagers it becomes more difficult to force them to do anything. Your job is to make her available to her father for his visitation, to try your best to encourage her to have a better relationship with her father. If you feel she is safe during these visits there is no reason that legally justifies changing the custody arrangement.