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Making the most of supervised visitations with your children

If you’re a parent who is allowed only supervised visitation with your children by the court, it’s normal to feel some resentment toward your co-parent, the judge, social workers and the system as a whole. However, whatever the reason that your visits must be supervised, these are still valuable opportunities for you to maintain a relationship with your children.

In many cases, the restrictions on visitations can be loosened based on a parent meeting certain requirements — such as completing a recovery program and/or going to therapy. In the meantime, it’s essential to cooperate with the terms of the supervised visitation and not to give those who will be evaluating your parental rights a reason not to be more lenient.

For example, don’t cancel a scheduled visit or be late. If you must, be sure to notify your co-parent and/or whomever else requires notification as early as possible.

Your focus should be on making the most of the time you have with your kids, whether it’s supervised by family members or it takes place at a visitation center. However, don’t put too much pressure on yourself or on your children.

It’s best if you can find activities that you and your children can complete within the allotted time. What you do will depend on their age and interests. You may want to play a game, do a puzzle or read a book. Visitation centers usually have some of these, but it’s best to bring your own or ask your kids to bring something they’d like to do. Maybe you can help them with homework or a school project.

If you’ve got some work to do to repair your relationships with your kids, be patient with them. Help them see how you’ve changed. The supervised visitation setting may not feel comfortable for you or them. However, the more you make it feel normal, the faster they’ll adjust. Don’t complain about the circumstances to them. It’s not their fault, and no one wants to spend time with someone who is angry and bitter.

Make sure that you understand what you need to do to eventually transition to unsupervised visitations. Your attorney can get those expectations documented by the court so that you know what’s expected of you and how you can demonstrate that you’ve met them so that you can have greater freedom to be with your children.