Friday, May 14, 2010

Restricting Visitation

A parent with custody will often try to restrict visitation to the other spouse. That's a mistake that can hurt your children.

"He will always be their dad; she will always be their mom. There's no divorce taking place there," says Dr. Bob Barnes.

Linda Jacobs says, "Children will automatically have divided loyalties. They may look like one parent but act like the other. They may exhibit some talents from Mom's side of the family and have interests or hobbies from Dad's side of the family. Children need an opportunity to know both parents. They deserve to be able to explore both family heritages."

When you and your former spouse separated or divorced, it was a process that occurred between the two of you and not your children. They are still the children of both parents—100 percent each. That percentage does not change when the children only see one parent on weekends or holidays.

By restricting visitation, you may be inadvertently forcing your children to choose which parent they will be loyal to, which parent they will side with. Don't burden your children with this. They desperately need to have regular contact with both parents. They have enough anxiety and insecurity as it is.

"Do not irritate and provoke your children to anger, do not exasperate them to resentment, but rear them tenderly in the training and discipline and the counsel and admonition of the Lord" (Ephesians 6:4 AMP).

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