The court expects the resident parent to do their best to ensure contact with the non-resident parent takes place. In some cases, however, the child may not be keen to keep up the contact or may entirely refuse to go.
It is vital that you try to determine the reasons for your child’s reluctance. Firstly ask yourself if there have been any significant changes in your or your ex-partner’s lives which could have unsettled them. These could include:
- New partner for either parent
- Death in the family
- A new addition to the family
- Problems at school
- An argument
Children can often be unwilling to share their feelings, especially if they think they may hurt the parent that they live with. They may have unresolved anger towards your ex-partner if they instigated your break-up, or they may feel it would be disloyal to spend time with their other parent. Sometimes, things that seem small to adults can mean a great deal to children such as a problem at school or row between new siblings.
Encourage your child to open up to you during non-stressful times and assure them that you will not be angry about any of the feelings they have. While it is usually in the best interests of the child to have contact with their father, it is essential that they feel comfortable with arrangements and can enjoy contact as a positive experience.
More seriously, there may be issues troubling your child which require intervention. If you suspect they are afraid for their safety or that they may be experiencing some kind of abuse it is essential that you seek legal advice to limit or prevent contact.