It can be quite challenging for a non-custodial parent to have to endure supervised visits with their children when they are going through a divorce, but it is very important to comply with the court's request and make the best of the situation, for both you and your children. The following tips can help guide you through the process with less stress and more enjoyment.
Treat the Supervisor With Courtesy and Respect
Many times, supervision is carried out by an impartial third party. This person is not your enemy; they are simply doing their job. Treating them in an unfriendly or distant manner makes you look bad and sets a bad example for your children. You should discuss the level of interaction and other specifics that the supervisor expects prior to the first visit. It is important to create a comfortable, relaxed environment for your children, so your courtesy and interaction with the supervisor is paramount. Explain to your children that the supervisor is there to be of help if he or she is needed. Don't make a big deal about their presence and your children won't either. Also, don't hesitate to ask them for guidance if you need it. Remember to thank the supervisor for their time and/or assistance as you are leaving.
Show What You Know
Often parents who are being supervised while visiting their children are also taking a parenting class. These classes are extremely beneficial, and even great parents often learn some parenting tips that will help them do an even better job understanding and interacting with their kids. During visitation, show that you are listening and learning during your parenting classes by implementing the strategies that are being taught. Even under the best of circumstances, most parents often have difficulty setting behavioral limits, and that is even more true when you only see your children periodically. Show the supervisor and the courts that you understand the need to set limits on your child's behaviors while supporting them fully during this difficult situation.
Plan Age-Appropriate Activities
It is much more difficult to be comfortable and relaxed in a tense situation if you have nothing to do. Try to engage your children in activities that they enjoy; if at all possible, do the same fun activities that you participated in at home. Although sometimes a specific setting is mandated, it may be possible to schedule visits in alternative locations, like a local park or favorite ice cream parlor. These are courtesies that the supervisor may be willing to grant, provided that you have shown yourself to be willing to follow the rules and make the most of the visit. If you aren't sure how to approach your supervisor, talk with a professional, like Baudler, Maus, Forman, Kritzer & Wagner, LLP, about how to make your visitations more flexible. Your attorney can reach out to your ex or to the supervisor if you aren't comfortable.
With a little forethought and some planning, your supervised visits can be pleasant and beneficial for both you and your children. Make the most of the opportunity by being gracious, courteous, and responsive to your children's needs.