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Absent parents can be challenging for children to understand

Child custody issues are some that are hard for children to deal with. For a child who has lived with both parents for all of his or her life, suddenly not having both parents around can be bad. Some parents have to deal with another element that happens after the divorce -- the child's other parent disappears completely.

That's the thing about child custody orders. The judge can order visitation for the non-custodial parent, but the judge likely can't or won't force that parent to actually go to the child when he or she is supposed to. This is difficult for children, especially young children, to understand.

It is important that you act as your child's support if his or her other parent isn't coming around. Let the child talk to you as he or she feels the need. Giving your child the space to ask questions and the openness to feel comfortable asking you those questions can help tremendously.

Children are sensitive to what others are asking and saying. If your children have an absent parent, let them know that it is appropriate for them to simply say that they don't see their other parent often or even at all. You can speak to the adults who come into contact with your child often to let them know that the other parent is missing so that you might reduce the chance that your child would have to deal with questions or comments about the absent parent.

It is always a good idea to understand your legal options for dealing with an absent parent. If you have any questions or concerns, you should address those before you end up having to do so in an emergency situation.

Source: Everyday Family, "Helping Your Child Deal with an Absent Parent," Katelynne Shepard, accessed Sep. 30, 2016

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