Making supervised visitation a success is up to the parents.
A supervised visit with a child is not the same as unsupervised time. Supervised visitation limits the activities of a parent and a child, which can be frustrating for both, however, the visit is still valuable to the child.
The noncustodial parent should remember how much children need regular, predictable time with both parents. If supervised visitation is ordered by the court, he or she should make the best of it. The visiting parent must set himself or herself up for success.
Here are ten tips for success as the visiting parent:
> The parent should follow the schedule for the visits, and should never cancel except for emergencies only.
> Punctuality is important.
> The parent should arrive for the visit prepared to talk and play with the children. He or she should bring books, toys, and games and have a plan for how to spend the time, but remain open to suggestions from the children.
> The parent should talk about his or her life and show an interest in the things that matter to the children. This means questions about their activities.
> The parent must keep promises, and never make promises that cannot be kept.
> The parent should not talk about the divorce, the other parent, or court actions.
> Critical comments about the other parent are inappropriate, as are negative comments about the supervised visitation time or structure.
> The visitation supervisor calls the shots and makes the rules, so be sure to follow them.
> The parent should relax and enjoy the children.
The custodial parent can help set the children up for success when they have a supervised visit with their other parent. Following these guidelines will help the parent and children:
> Children should be prepared for the other parent’s visit. Marking the calendar is a good way to let the children know what is in store. Children should know in advance when the visit is going to happen, rather than having it sprung on them.
> The custodial parent should be positive, and demonstrate through words and actions that he or she wants the children to have this time with the other parent.
> The parent should keep the children out of conflict that may exist between him or her and the other parent.
> A custodial parent who sees the children having a problem with the other parent should talk with a therapist, a friend, a cleric, or someone who can be supportive and objective.
> Children should not be pumped for information about the visit; the parent should be a good listener.
> Nonverbal language also communicates. Sometimes a simple expression can speak volumes to the children about support or lack of it for the other parent or the visits.