During a divorce that involves spouses with children, child custody arrangements are generally treated as the highest of priorities. In some cases, a spouse will spend substantial time and money – assuming the process is contentious – to adopt a favorable child custody arrangement. Once a judge finalizes everything, it’s set in stone, right?
Legally speaking, yes, it is. But do not forget about the other individuals involved in this process: the children. There may come a time where they no longer want to abide by the ultra-structured agreement that is in place.
A psychologist and author recently blogged about this phenomena, pointing out that children often go with the flow coming right out of the gates of divorce. Like the spouses involved, children tend to get weary from all the legal proceedings, so they are desperate to get back to somewhat of a normal routine. For this reason, they will go along with a child custody and visitation schedule as it is set forth.
Generally, when a child reaches their adolescent years, they begin to rebel from the agreement set in place. This is not just to cause trouble. In these cases, the children simply want to adopt their own lives, and that means not always following exactly what their parents tell them to do.
According to the psychologist and author, parents that want to maintain a strong relationship with their children during this age need to adapt to this change. They need to construct their visitation arrangements around the child’s life instead of their own.
As kids get older, they tend to become more social. No kid wants to trade in time they could spend with their friends just because it is the weekend they are supposed to go to dad’s house.
There are no hard-and-fast rules when it comes to parenting after divorce. Each child is different. The one golden rule parents should maintain, though, is to always keep a child’s needs ahead of their own.
Source: Huffington Post, “Hell No: I Won’t Go,” Edward D. Farber, PhD, Feb. 9, 2013