When your child doesn’t want to visit their other parent

In some cases, children will refuse to leave to be with the noncustodial parent. Here are some reasons why this might happen:

A parent is not tuned in to the children’s interests or is not actively involved with the children during their time together.
Your children may be very young and anxious about separation from the parent who does the majority of care taking.
Open conflict is causing the children to appear to be aligned temporarily with one parent.
In rare cases, there may be child abuse.

If your children don’t want to leave their primary home to be with their other parent, having a good heart-to-heart with your ex-spouse should be the first step. The problem may be one that is easy to resolve, such as paying more attention to the children, a change in discipline style, or having more toys or other entertainment at the other home.

Either or both parents may unknowingly be causing the children’s refusal to go.

Contact (previously known as “access”) is what is awarded to the parent with whom the child is not residing (“the non-resident parent”) and entitles that parent to visit, speak or write to the child. Theoretically this is the right of the child, however, non-resident parents cannot be forced to have contact with their child.