Children resist their parents for many reasons. Sometimes they might feel like they need to protect the other parent, they are overly stressed, in a rebellious stage, feel abandoned, or have feelings of shame. Sometimes one parent will actively work to turn the child against the other parent.

When a child’s separation from one parent is too long, they resist. The child might feel like they don’t know what to say or how to act. The child might feel guilty or ashamed for not maintaining contact. They might also feel they need to protect the other parent’s feelings.

Reunification coaching is a form of coaching that finds strategies and solutions to current family conflicts due to separation or resistance dynamics. Reunification coaching is a form of family coaching that helps the child find their voice and the parents to learn how to put the child’s best interest first. A reunification coach can also help the family by speaking to social workers, therapists, and family law attorneys. A team can be helpful when the family struggles with divorce or conflict.

Here are some questions to ask yourself if your child is resisting you or the other parent

  1. What are my reactions like regarding the other parent? Sometimes when people go through a separation or divorce, they fear or are angry toward the other parent. Children are attuned to their parents and often feel what their parent is feeling. If you are angry or afraid of the other parent, your child might also be. Do your best not to react negatively towards your ex-partner in front of your children.
  2. What kinds of stress is your child going through? If your child has had to adapt to a new lifestyle because of the separation, they might be stressed. Did your child have to move homes or schools? If so, they might miss their old friends, teachers, and classmates. Allow them some time to adapt and to speak about their feelings. They may be going through more changes than they are ready for.
  3. Does your child have a routine and a schedule? Your child needs predictability to feel safe. Your child needs to know the rules and consequences in both homes. They also need to know when they will see the other parent. Too much unpredictability leads to chaos which can put your family under chronic stress.
  4. Is one parent trying to turn the child against the other parent? Saying negative things about the other parent to your child will have dire consequences. When your child hears negative things about the other parent, they will internalize that against themselves. Remember, your child is half you and half the other parent. If there is something you don’t like about the other parent, the child will also think that you don’t like that about them.
  5. Does your child have choices? If your child feels like they are overly controlled, they will rebel. Your child needs to understand why decisions have been made. They also need to have some choices in their life. This being said, the child can not refuse access to the other parent. If they refuse access, it is essential to find out why. If your child is safe in both homes, help them to feel that safety.
  6. Does your child feel abandoned? This can be a difficult thing to address. Often children are unaware that they feel abandoned. Instead, they might feel worthless or unloveable. It is common for children to feel abandoned in divorce situations, especially if another family is involved.

To make an appointment call or text +1-909-260-5279 or email