It’s hard when a child wants to live with both parents, but if a child does not want to live with a parent, it can even be harder. Every situation is different. There are a lot of factors in play in this kind of situation – environment, peer pressure, the children’s social life, the distance between houses, and many more.
It’s tough for you as a parent not to feel hurt when your child now sighs and roll their eyes out at the very idea of being with you, when three years ago, they would do anything to keep you on their side.
What do you do if your child does not want to be with you? You can try these things below to make the situation better:
1. Make both houses feel like home.
One possible reason why your child does not want to live with you is that your ex’s home feels like home and in yours, he or she feels “away”. To avoid this feeling, both houses should have necessities like, clothing, toiletries, games, books, toys, favorite stuffed animals, and a space the child could call his or her own to make him or her comfortable.
2. Ask questions and find out why.
If a child does not want to live with a parent, one reason could be safety issue. For young children, ask them to draw a picture of what it feels like to live in the other parent’s house. If your child is old enough, ask what is happening that makes him or her not want to go to the other house. As a parent, if you sense that something is wrong or alarming, you might want to involve a professional family counselor or a lawyer to talk about what could be done about the situation.
3. Stay calm
Easier said than done but try to remember yourself at your teenage years. If you look back, teenage moods are a normal part of young people. It is normal for them to feel happy on some days and feel down at other times. This is the part where self-awareness is beginning to develop. So, while you as a parent should not put up with rudeness and insensitivity, you should still deal with your children calmly and don’t take what they say personally because at this point, they are emotional human beings.
4. Don’t get upset or angry
This relates to number three (3) on out list, “Stay calm”. You should not live on your child’s emotional level. When you feel like your child ignores you or seem disinterested in you, do not feel rejected or upset and lash out with negative pronouncements because that will only make matters worse. Even if you really feel that way inside, do not take that out on your child. That kind of negative emotions will not lead to anything productive in your parent-child relationship, and it may only cause a division between you.
5. Bridge the gap.
Ask yourself what can you communicate about with your child? Children feels awkward when talking about serious stuff so you can talk about their hobbies, interests, pleasures, and passions instead. Pursue talking and communicating with your children and even though you may not have deep, soulful conversations about what is going on in their lives, those little chats about not-so-serious stuff will bridge the gap of communication sooner or later.
6. Enter their world.
Sometimes communicating with your child means entering their world. If your child is a boy who is into pirates, why not create a pirate ship themed bedroom for him and enter the life your little seafarer. If your child is a girl who likes dolls and pink stuff, you can suggest painting the room pink or any other color she likes. And if your child is a teenager, you can research what is the popular culture nowadays and casually talk about it to them and see what they have to say or if they are into it. Remember that all connections are personal choices that require trust and understanding. No connections are forced as it is often a slow process that requires patience, persistence, effort, and tons of communication. You can strengthen your connection with your child if you prove that you are “cool”, or you are willing to be open-minded and enter their world. If you do this, they may want to change their mind and be okay living with you after all.
7. Learn to listen.
Another tip you can definitely benefit on is when you start to learn to listen to your child’s interest and their social and school life. A sense of relatability can do wonders for you and your child’s relationship. If you don’t seem to relate with them about anything, do not panic. This is a good opportunity to just be quiet and listen.
In trying to get to know your child, you really have to listen to what they are saying without making it about you. Engage with your child by asking questions about what they said and do not scold or cut them when they said something you dislike or disagree with. Be open-minded as this is crucial if you really want to build trust and prove that you will not reject them for whatever they say to you.
8. Make time for your child
Another possible reason why your child does not want to live with you is maybe when he or she is in your house, he or she often feels alone. It may feel like your child is pushing you away but they are only actually craving a one-on-one time with you-just on their own time and terms. Once you learn about their hobbies and interests, you can suggest trying one of them together and then decide together what you want to do. If your child feel lie you are really invested in spending time with him or her, doing something they like, they are more likely to take you up on the chance to do something together.
Make time to learn your child’s love language.
The five (5) love languages are:
1.) Acts of service
2.) Receiving gifts
3.) Quality time
4.) Words of affirmation
5.) Physical touch.
Connections take time. Building a good relationship with your child takes time. As a parent, just be patient, open-minded and real, and you’ll find that there are ways on how you can make your child want to live with you. If you are still struggling and want to have more advice about co-parenting, just contact Virginia Divorce Attorney Tori Bramble at (540) 628-7340 or visit our website at www.bramblelawfirm.com