Having to spend time with your child alongside a court-appointed supervisor can be a drag for any divorced parent, but it doesn’t have to be.
Supervised visitation can sometimes be the outcome of a messy and unpleasant custody proceeding and it can stir up a lot of emotions. Parents who find themselves forced into a supervised visitation situation with their kids can feel as though they’re being punished or that the other parent is using them as a means of making themselves look better in the eyes of the court. These negative emotions can cause resentment to boil over in the other parent and (even unconsciously) result in the visits being sabotaged, with gruff remarks being hurled at the supervisor or frustrations being vented with the child present. Even worse, those frustrations might be vented to the child, which could be damaging on multiple levels. We spoke with Anne P. Mitchell, Esq., author of They’re Your Kids Too: The Single Father’s Guide and one of the first fathers’ rights lawyers in the U.S. to find out what single parents can do to keep calm, carry on, and make the most of supervised visits.
Come Up with a Plan
It’s important that the time you spend with your child is fun for them and that you’re both engaged and active. If the visit is not at a supervising center or the child’s own home, then be prepared with books, games or activities that you and your child can do together. “Bring things that are interactive, not an iPad with a movie on it, both because that’s not as bond-building, and also you don’t want the supervisor reporting that instead of interacting with your child, you both just stared at a screen,” Mitchell says. “If the parenting time is with a mobile supervisor, then go to a park, to a museum, to the zoo, or even just out for ice cream! The parent who is being supervised should expect to, and offer to, pay for the supervisor’s expenses in these cases.”
During a supervised visit, you’re not only spending time with your child, but you’re also laying the groundwork for unsupervised visits in the future. That means being…