When divorce or separations happen, the biggest victims are often the children.  They feel caught between their parents and have dozens of questions about what is happening and why. Throw in tension, fear of the unknown, and needing a third party to see the opposite parent, and the turmoil increases.  If you find yourself setting up supervised visits, explaining the why to your child(ren) can be heartrending. However, there are steps you can take to make supervised visits beneficial for everyone.

Getting Your Child Ready for Supervised Visits

Preparing Children for Supervised VisitationTalk about the visit ahead of time.

It is important that your child see these visits as a good thing. Get them a calendar they have access to and mark the visitation date. Then, don’t just talk about the visit but let them know they will enjoy the time.

Explain the purpose of the supervised visit.

How much information you give will depend on the child’s age. You should also assure your child their supervised visits are only temporary and are to keep everyone safe.

Let your child know what to expect.

Having a visit with the opposite parent plus someone they don’t know well may cause anxiety for your child. Assure your child that the other adult cares for them and that their job is to ensure they (your child) have a great visit.

Keep your feelings to yourself.

For whatever reason, you may not like the need for supervised visits. But you need to leave these behind when you talk to your child about the upcoming visit. Do your best to let them know the visit is a positive activity.

Acknowledge their feelings.

Your children’s emotions regarding the visits may range from excitement to anger.  No matter their emotional state, do not downplay it. They are struggling to understand what is happening. Likewise, they may fear having another adult (not their parent) there. Or they might feel disloyal because they are excited about seeing the other parent. Listen to what they have to say. Be patient and answer their questions and concerns.

Let them know they aren’t required to tell you about their visit.

Your child needs to understand that their job is not to report back to you about the visit. They need the freedom to share as much information as they want. Remember that your child may even fear missing out on fun activities with you by being with the opposite parent. Let them know that you will still be there after the visit.

When it comes to supervised visits, your child must understand that the visits are to help them. It is not a form of punishment for anyone. Take time to explain the benefits of the visit, acknowledge their emotions, and encourage them to enjoy themselves. Doing this helps your child prepare.

If you have questions regarding supervised visits, don’t hesitate to reach out to Family Alliance Services. We have a team of people whose goal is to see your child(ren) and the non-custodial parent have a great visit.