My teenager doesn’t want to visit me – what to do?
I can only imagine how difficult it must be not only to raise a teenager, but to be forced into a scenario where your teenager lives with their other parent and doesn’t even want to visit you. Often, Courts receive petitions from a custodial parent desiring to limit the non-custodial parent’s time with their teenage child – because for one reason or another, the teenage child doesn’t want to see their non-custodial parent ‘as much’, or not at all.
In my experience, these types of petitions for custody modifications occur for a variety of reasons. For example, maybe the teenage child’s parents live a distance away from each other and visiting the non-custodial parent interferes with extra-curricular/social schedules. Maybe the custodial parent is simply ‘vindictive’ and has convinced the teenage child that the non-custodial parent is ‘no good’. Maybe the non-custodial parent ‘screwed up’ in some way or another, either physically or emotionally harming the teenage child. Or, maybe the teenage child is just being a ‘teenage child’.
I recently read a book titled, “Because I said so!/What’s the Big Idea?!”, written by one of our own local psychologists, Neal A. Hemmelstein, Ph.D. (aka Dr. “Gee Whiz”). Let me first state that this book is not a book about ‘teenagers and custody’. This book, to me, seemed to be a guide on how to understand and improve parents’ understanding of themselves, their teenager, and vice versa.
I couldn’t help but wonder whether or not the concepts introduced in this book might be of help to parents struggling with a custody situation with their teenage child. Let’s face it, the older your child gets, the more weight his well-reasoned (or seemingly well-reasoned) opinion will get in Court as to what the custodial arrangements should be. If you want more time with your teenage child, you are most likely going to have to convince not only the Court, but your own child , that this is a good idea.
In a nutshell, if you are struggling with this situation and seek an improvement, give this book a read – it might just help. Thank you, Dr. Hemmelstein.