As a divorced parent, hearing your child does not want to see you this weekend can be heartbreaking. If it happens on more than one occasion, you might begin to think that your ex is manipulating them.

While parents have been known to try and turn a child against the other parent, usually, there is a less sinister explanation. Here are some of the reasons that children may want to skip a parental visit:

  • They have a more exciting offer: When your child was little, spending time with you was probably the highlight of their week. As they get older and gain independence, they have more options to choose from. Do not take it personally if they consider a date with their new girlfriend or a trip with friends to a concert to be more appealing.
  • They have schoolwork: Especially around the time of exams, young people can be under tremendous pressure. Your child may want to spend as much time preparing as possible.
  • They don’t want to do what you do: It may take years for your child to tell you they hate baseball. Or that they would prefer to go to a salad bar than a burger joint. When a child does not see you all the time, they may not want to hurt your feelings, so say nothing. They may find it easier to make up an excuse rather than admit they have not told you the truth before.

Remember, the closer your child is to adulthood, the closer they are to being able to do as they please legally. Insisting they must see you because your child custody plan says so could harm your relationship. It is usually best to be flexible, as long as it does not always happen.