When a parent, for whatever reason, has never been a part of the child’s life or has not had any contact with the child for an extended period of time either in person, by phone, or in writing, both parents should consider the possible problems the child may
have if lengthy or overnight visitation were to start right away. Instead, the visitation schedule should gradually re‐introduce parent and child, taking into consideration the child’s stage of development and the child’s ability transition well to visitation with the parent.
Parents can help their children by not withholding child support or visitation. Children generally fare best when they have the emotional and financial support and ongoing involvement of both parents. A parent does not have a right to withhold visitation or child support because of the other parent’s failure to comply with court‐ordered visitation or support. In other words:
Parents can keep their children out of the middle of adult issues by not using the children as messengers. Sometimes the message is something as innocent as a reminder that the child must take her medication before bedtime. Other times, the message may be that the child support payment will be late. Unfortunately, we all know what happens to the bearer of bad news. If the message was difficult for one parent to say directly to the other parent, just imagine how difficult it will be for the child to relay that message. Instead of using their children as messengers, parents should either deal directly with each other or through a mutually agreed upon adult.
Unless special circumstances exist, children generally fare best when they have the emotional support and ongoing involvement of both parents. Ongoing parental involvement fosters positive parent‐child relationships and healthy emotional and social development. It is also beneficial to parents because it makes it more likely that the parents will have positive relationships with their children when the children become adults.