After parents split up, the parent who doesn’t have primary physical custody will sometimes drop out of their child’s life for one reason or another — at least for a while. Sometimes they have a struggle with addiction or alcoholism, sometimes they’re just angry. Maybe they just took some time to “find themselves.”
Whatever the reason, when an absent parent returns, they might think that their child will embrace them with open arms, but this might not be how it happens. Instead, they may find that the child is struggling with their return.
How can you help your children deal with a parent who comes back after an absence?
In most cases, both parents will have to work to make the situation as easy as possible for the children. It’s usually best if they can work together. For younger children, the parents might have to slowly re-introduce the kids to the returning parent. This might need to occur while the parent who’s been there is present.
Both parents will need to reassure their child that they love them. It’s important not to force the child to move faster than they’re comfortable with when you’re bringing the absent parent back into their life. The parent who’s returning should be prepared to answer questions about what led to them staying away.
The emotions that come with this situation can be complicated. The adults will have to pay close attention to how the child is adjusting so they can determine how to move forward. There’s a chance that it will be a lengthy process to reintegrate the parent into the child’s life.
Do you need an attorney to help you navigate the absent parent’s return to your child’s life?
Some situations might require an update to a parenting plan or for the parents to draw up a new child custody agreement. Working with an attorney who’s familiar with this type of situation is beneficial.