After a divorce, parents come up with a child custody plan and/or visitation schedule. While it feels to them like the job is done and the plan is perfect, it sometimes takes them by surprise when a child is resistant to it. That child may clearly prefer one parent and even refuse to go live with the other parent.
This can be distressing and frustrating, and it’s important for parents to understand why it happens and what they can do. A few potential reasons include:
- The child has always been closer to that parent, but it wasn’t as obvious when they lived together.
- One parent does not engage with the child when they have custody, and the child understands this lack of involvement.
- One parent does not understand the child’s interests, and therefore, doesn’t give them a favorable living situation.
- The parents have been experiencing a fair amount of conflict even after the divorce, and it has made the child pick sides.
- Children simply do not like change and want to have the same routine and/or living situation.
- Young kids are used to getting most of their care from one parent and feel nervous and anxious about living with the other parent. They may not understand that they can also count on that other parent to care for them the same way.
It is important to take kids’ feelings and needs into account when creating a child custody plan. In some cases, older children will even get to voice their opinions and have a say in the schedule. Remember your rights and always put the kids first.