Separated Parents are at risk of misunderstanding their child’s behavior
It is common to receive reports from parents that when their child goes to visit the other parent during or after a divorce, they are anxious or more difficult to deal with. The child’s behavior can seem strange or abnormal to the parent. The parent who receives the child back is concerned that the visits with the other parent are upsetting and they wonder if they should be curbed.
As lawyers, when clients come to us with this concern, we have been engaged to even go so far as to ask for an evaluation from a mental health professional or ask for a change (decrease) in the parenting time of the other (visiting) parent. In my heart of hearts, I often thought that this was more normal than many parents believe. However, I am just a lawyer and not a mental health professional. Thus, I am not qualified to even insert my thoughts into the question.
In my own, personal experience, my parents had similar complaints when I was growing up. I have often also thought that every time I went to visit my grandparents, my parents were surprised by my behavior when I returned home. I was overly excited and “spoiled” by these visits with my grandparents. Luckily, my parents didn’t ever suggest that the visits to my grandparents decrease or stop. Truthfully, my parents were probably just glad to get a break from me and my energy!
Gary Direnfield is a social worker who regularly writes articles that are very practical and helpful. He has addressed this question very effectively. Direnfield reminds us that this behavior is probably very normal and that we have options that might be helpful. He wrote an article entitled “Separated Parents are at Risk of Misunderstanding What is Beneath a Child’s Behavior” outlining some of these options.
If you are separated or are facing the reality of a divorce, contact Camille today! She can help you find a mental health professional to talk with or discuss your options for a divorce.