Having primary custody of a child is not without its struggles. Adjusting to life as a primary caregiver can take some time and then there is the child visitation granted to the non-custodial parent. The visitation agreement may include overnight visitation stays, which can leave the household very quiet and lonely. Though visitation is important for keeping the other parent involved, it can cause mixed feelings for a custodial parent.
Dealing with Overnight Visitation
Overnight visitation was traditionally not recommended for young children because separation from the primary caregiver was thought to result in regression or depression and eventually lead to separation issues and an inability to develop relationships. However, current research disputes this. Many infants and toddlers who spend overnights with their non-custodial parents experience no issues later in life.
When children visit their other parent for overnight visitation, the primary caregiver is left with a block of free time. Rather than being resentful that the children are not there, think about how the visitation process is benefiting their development. The children are being reassured that they are important and loved. Never make any negative statements about the overnight visitation stay or the other parent because children must feel free to love both their parents.
Some custodial parents become concerned about overnight visitation when the noncustodial spouse begins living with another person. However, they must respect boundaries and realize that this only becomes their business if neglect or abuse is suspected. Custodial parents should seek professional help if they have difficulty handling the fact that the other parent has moved on. A smooth transition from one household to the next requires parents to work together and express mutual courtesy and respect.
Overnight visitation is psychologically important for children because it provides opportunities for nurturing activities like bathing and comforting. There is no evidence that the relationship with the primary caregiver suffers when a child visits the non-custodial parent overnight. A brief visit is not enough to provide parenting activities that establish strong relationships between the youngster and the adult, making overnights critical.
If the visitation agreement for your child includes overnights with the non-custodial parent, view this in a positive light. The child will have an opportunity to develop a strong relationship with both parents, which contributes to healthy development. Rather than worrying or spending time pining for the child, use the free time to relax, take up a hobby, or do something else to make your own life more well-rounded. Get a free consultation with an expert child custody attorney and find out what your rights are.