Helping your child when an absent parent returns

Many circumstances can keep a parent away from a child. While these situations might be voluntary, there are times, such as military deployments, that aren’t. No matter what kept the parent away from the child, it is up to the parent who is with the child to help make the reintroduction of the absent parent as easy as possible for the children.

It’s all too easy to just assume that the absent parent will have to be the one to smooth things over with the child, but this isn’t the case. The child has come to trust and count on you to be there for them. They are going to take cues from you about what’s going to happen and how to move forward. You can use this to help them realize that they deserve a meaningful relationship with their other parent.

Some children might not be as receptive to the absent parent as others. Even though the parent is likely in a rush to build the relationship with the child, they shouldn’t try to push them to move too fast. Moving slowly can help reduce the stress for the child. For example, the first few visits may need to be short, so the child can get comfortable before they start having overnight visits.

Don’t be surprised if the child doesn’t want to spend time alone with the absent parent. Initial visits might involve both parents remaining with the child to help them remain comfortable. Even if this is difficult, try to put those feelings aside, so you can provide your child with the environment that keeps stress down and helps them to thrive.

You should also remember that the terms of the parenting plan are still important. If they don’t reflect the child’s current needs, explore a modification.

Call us at Denis M. Gravel & Associates, P.C., to discuss the matters of your case at 847-813-7590.