How to deal with extended visitation

Vicky1975April 25, 2013

I have been raising my stepson (9) full-time during the past 3 years. We are moving out of state now and BM will get him 3 times a year for 3-4 weeks each time. I already dread the time he'll be gone because him and I are so close. I am also worried that he will not be able to handle a 3-4 week visit since he has never spent more time with BM than an extended weekend (once he visited her for 6 days, but usually it's only over the weekend). He also does not want to travel by himself. Any suggestions? He will have to go on a 2.5 hour flight in order to see BM.

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Every child is different, but I will tell you my experience. My daughter was in a similar situation to your SS until she was forced by a court order into extended visits of two consecutive weeks over the summer when she was 8 years old. It was very traumatic for her. She cried, became clingy, and wouldn't sleep alone. She's 11 now, and much better able to handle two consecutive weeks away. However, 3-4 weeks would still be too much at her current age. She hasn't fully recovered from the trauma of those long times away when she was younger.

My recommendation is to try, if you can, to break up the visits into shorter periods, and then gradually lengthen the periods as the child gets older. By the time the teenage years come around, 3-4 weeks won't be a problem.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2013 at 4:58PM
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I agree with you, and I think 10-14 days would be a good amount of time in the beginning. However, BM most likely will insist on her visitation time. Additionally, making my SS travel 5-6 times a year does not really make sense to me. My husband and BM have a verbal agreement that if he absolutely wants to come back BM will not force him to stay. However, it's a verbal agreement that we could not put in the paperwork, but I don't count on it because BM usually does what is best for her and she makes decisions that are not necessarily best for her son. We just saw that again today because she was supposed the get him over the weekend, but SS wants to see his friends before we move. She insisted on having him (a few days ago she told him it's ok if he does not visit her this weekend), but once my husband told her that we already made plans and she had to tell SS herself that he has to spend the weekend with her, she changed her mind (again).

I just hope that SS will be able to handle it or that she allows him to come back if it's getting too much for him. He already has "Separation Anxiety Disorder" and his therapist said it probably goes back to when he was little and BM abandoned him, and was triggered about a year ago when she did not pick him up from daycare. I am the person he is closest to, and I am not sure if he'll be able to handle being separated from me (and his dad) for that long.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2013 at 5:15PM
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