Should a teen-age child have any say in when/if he or she visits the non-custodial parent?

65% (494 votes)
35% (263 votes)
Total votes: 757
Conflicted's picture

I say YES

My son helped in drafting our current parenting plan (hes 11-years-old). I think he is old enough to know what he wants as well as voice an opinion.

JohnnyStan's picture

Their opinion should be

Their opinion should be valued. I had a lot of time to think about this before hand and I feel I have made the right choice. tube toolbox free


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Endora's picture

Have one

Step Parenting โ€“ you might need to step back before you step in something!

I have been learning to let go of the outcome of visitation with a now 16 year old-

drama is just not worth the time off if you force them (just have to figure out how to get SS out of the house period!)


Step Parenting โ€“ you might need to step back before you step in something!

stepwitch's picture

I say Yes...... BUT>>>

If there is something special going on they should come for instance a birthday for a family member or something.... But for the most part, if they are a teen - friends are most important and I agree with Endora, that the drama is just not worth it...

Thank you Disney for portraying a positive image on all stepmothers!!!!


Thank you Disney for portraying a positive image on all stepmothers!!!!

Elizabeth's picture

I think you should preface this by asking

If the person responding is a bioparent or stepparent. I think this will make a BIG difference. For example, my husband (bioparent to SD15) would say no because she is choosing NOT to see him. I would say no as well, but not because I don't think they should have a voice. I say no because DH and BM have been letting SD "choose" since she was 2. If she was mad at BM, she'd go to DH's house. And vice versa. So she quickly learned she could play them against each other, and 13 years later she's still using visitation as a way to hurt one or the other. There were times DH had to force SD to visit BM, but he thought it was important. Now BM won't do the same for him because it gives her power.

melis070179's picture

Some say, but not 100% of

Some say, but not 100% of the time.


"I child proofed my whole house, but they STILL get in!"

Most Evil's picture

I say No

I think if DH must support BM, I mean SD! he should be allowed to see SD with no conflict. If SD makes it too miserable when visiting, then I would let her skip, but that would be our choice, not the child's.

Any child/student/BM who is accepting financial support should answer to/work with/treat with respect, their parent/ex, custodial or no. and of course, vice versa. IMO!!

Of course we live too far away to have a regular schedule and just have to take what visitation we can get/pay 100% of.

"A lie told often enough becomes the truth." - Vladimir Lenin


If you are going through hell, keep going. ~ Winston Churchill

Chel Bell's picture

most evil...

I like the way you put that....and totally agree."~waiting on the world to change~"


" A first marriage is like buying your first home, sometimes you just gotta start small"~ Me.

Most Evil's picture

Thank you dear!!

I did try to tone it down a little . . . ! Eye-wink

"A lie told often enough becomes the truth." - Vladimir Lenin


If you are going through hell, keep going. ~ Winston Churchill

B's picture

I think it depends on the situation...

If the child has a job, they should have some say. If it's just wanting to spend time with friends, that should be a 'sometime thing'. BUT, if there's a history of the CP interfering and trying to keep visitation from happening, then I'd say stick to the plan and stick to your guns.

That's my .52 cents, LOL. Smiling


"If you're going through hell, keep going." Winston Churchill

Dawn's picture


if the environment is just awful for the kid. We are the custodial house yet we are having to force ss to go to his mom's because she treats him with no respect of his feelings, wants or needs. He is just beat down when he goes to Bm's house. We would never let him not go to her house ever but there are some occasions where he would just like to have some say.

Bm just has so many issues(guilt, depression, adult ADD, man problems, no idea how to parent, etc.) that she can't see what she is doing to her son. It's impossible to reason with her.

We don't know what to do.


bewitched's picture

SD already rules everything

else-just what that spoiled, entitled brat needs-another chance to play queen and make all the decisions. a firm NO


"To Thine Own Self Be True" William Shakesphere

bellacita's picture

i agree w most evil too

worded perfectly...but i also think there are exceptions, like B mentioned.

i just dont think these kids should be allowed not decide when/if they see their dads just to punish them for marrying the stepmom...

"Given the right reasons and the right two people, marriage is a wonderful way of experiencing your life."
~the late great George Carlin


"Given the right reasons and the right two people, marriage is a wonderful way of experiencing your life."
~the late great George Carlin

Wicked2Three's picture

I am finally getting what my

I am finally getting what my friends and family have said for years. We have a plan and a payment set in stone. We should just let them do what they want (please leave, please leave) and ride it out until the game is over at 18.

Have a choice? SS18 is out of town at college and is still not mature enough to make the decision wisely! I don't mean in our favor, but rather in his own long term best interest.
"All power is from within therefore under our control." - Robert Collier

Rags's picture

No But .......

I believe that the child should have no decisioning ability on visitation.

However, as kids get older they develop their own lives and should be able to reasonably expect that both of their parents will support the kid if the kid decides to participate in activities and spend time with friends.

But, the kid should not have carte blanche to pick and choose when they visit and when they don't.

Here is the wording from the Supplementary Local Rules for the county where my SS's case is resident.

6.9.4 A child is not permitted to determine whether he or she visits the noncustodial
parent. However, older teenagers are often involved in their own
activities and are unable (or unwilling) to spend time with their parents on
a regular schedule as they did when they were younger. Both parents must
be considerate of older teenagers and recognize that they wish (and need)
to spend more time with their peers rather than their parents. Parents will
need to make adjustments to accommodate these life changes.

This seems reasonable to me. Though I am not sure if the shoe was on the other foot if I would feel the same way. I know, pretty hypocritical but ......

Best regards,


A parent is an example, mentor, confidante, advocate and disciplinarian, not a buddy.-Rags
If you can't listen and learn then you will have to feel.-WLR
If you want to be a part of my life then use your head or STFU and do what you are told.-Rags

Gmama's picture


my SS lives out of state, there for my husband gets to see him very little, the large amount of CS does not allow any extra travel expences for us or him threw out the year. so ONLY SCHEDULED visits are when we see him.she allowed a wopping 6 weeks for summer visits ( now mind you,we see him in the summer,one school break during the school year, and everyother christmas) he is 10 and asked her if he could stay longer last summer and she flat out said no to him and when my husband asked. so who do you think by "controlling" the situation she hurt???? she can't hurt my husband anymore then she did the day she took him(ss) out of state,she didn't hurt me because he's not my child. so ya, i think when they get to a certian age they should have a say so. my husband already is prepared for SS to be 16,17 have a job,girlfriend ect. and not want to come,will he make him? no,he already knows whats ahead of him.

now4teens's picture

But each situation is different

In my case, I'd care less if any the kids wanted to go to the other parent's house- and I mean the 3SDs or my 2BSs.

I'm tired of teenagers. Period. Let them all go to the other parents' houses for a change! Dh & I need a break. Just don't call us if you go over there...

"If you have never been hated by a child, you have never been a parent."
-Bette Davis


"Of course things worked out nicely for Carol Brady...she had a live-in maid and Mike's first wife was DEAD!"

Dawn's picture

I can so relate to this

and I only have one teenager to deal with.


alanna's picture

i vote yes, but

it really should be case by case, but then who decides those rules? if my ss-14 had a say, we wouldn't have missed so much of his life. he would be safe and warm and fed right now instead of being threatened and thrown out and underfed. deep down i know sd-11 would come around to visiting again too. but she's so brainwashed & acting just like bm right now and probably has no clear memory of how things where 3 yrs ago. of course if sd-10 from bm/2 had her way, she'd live here.
if it were up to me, we'd have them all as often as possible and bm/1 would be in prison were she belongs. fh agrees as long as he doesn't have to actively parent too much;). but bm's have all the say, and it STINKS!

acep74's picture

this is a good question

so the sk's have been told a heap of lies from bm, which makes it difficult for any relationship bewteen the father. So how is that fair , pay your cs but no contact....
if they do make it unbearable to visit then thats our decision to say no not the kids, kids today are given to many rights. We have been through hell because of a teenager ... its a tuff one, but i think they should visit. And the bm should get a life!

Sita Tara's picture long as...

There is ample communication and understanding on the part of both sets of parents. I agree each situation is different. We have let go of if/when SD sees BM, with the exception that if they do exercise any visitation, that DH will have final say on non-scheduled visitation. BM wouldn't pick a specific night and was constantly negotiating with SD, then having SD inform DH when she would be going to her mom's. If BM won't schedule her time around visitation, then we have a say as to when/if make up time occurs, and will not alter our plans at the last minute. Except of course when BM just doesn't show and we're forced to. That one still happens. BM also told SD if there's a reason (ours or BMs) that SD can't go there on the "scheduled night" (whenever that is-it changes every few months) that BM is no longer going to try to schedule a make up because "it's just too hectic."

So on one hand we have detached from trying to force it, but if it occurs it needs to be on a set day, or work with our schedule if BM strays from setting a specific time.

Won't it be interesting when SD is driving that promised (I'll believe it when I see it) car purchased by BM? So SD can say I'm staying at mom's this weekend, and then, b/c BM refuses to talk/be civil with DH, SD can go stay at friends or her BFs every weekend? Or on the street or out all night.

I can't WAIT for that one!

"Om Tare Tutare Ture Mama Ayurpunye Jnana Putin Kuru Svaha"
~Sita Tara Mantra

The Principlist's picture

My vote is for Yes

DH and I are custodial to my skids, SS stb 12 and SD 13. BM is incapable of parenting the kids. She does not have a stable environment let alone a place for them to sleep when they do visit. If it were up to her she would only spend a couple of minutes with them and return them immediately. SD absolutely HATES over nights with her. BM treats SS as her prized possession and totally ignores SD. That is very hard for SD and it has been this way for a long time. I've noticed it since SD was about 7. DH and I both have tried talking to BM about her favoritism only to be cursed out and God knows what else. So given the circumstances I can no longer force visitation. I used to force SD to go no matter what because I felt that they needed time with BM. We had to take a step back to see that if it was difficult for us as adults in dealing with this irriational person, imagine how difficult it must be for a child. So, now that SD is 13 we no longer force it. We allow her to choose. SS will run at every moment because he gets babied and eats it up. He does not get that here as I have no babies in my home. I have teens and pre-teens, but no babies. So, he never opts out. SD on the other hand will go to eat or the movies when they do, but she comes home immediately following whatever outing. I used to get upset because DH and I would get no alone time together, but someone has to be there for SD. It can't be fun growing up seeing that your mother treats you like you don't matter and then to have her dad and SM not want her. NOPE. She is welcome to choose whatever makes her comfortable. SHe has not always had that option and I don't believe that she does it to manipulate one against the other. She is truly at a point where she wants to see her mom just not to stay overnight. I can't say that I blame her since she is 5'5" and has to sleep on a love seat when there. So not cool when she has her own bed that she comfortable fits into without being balled up into a knot.

I think it is different in all situations. Overall, I think I would have to say no. In special circumstances such as ours, I have to say yes.

Step Mother's Motto this week is:

You don't have to LOVE me, you don't even have to LIKE me... But you will RESPECT me.

LauraHelton331's picture

It REALLY depends.

But only because of my situation.

My 8 (ok i know he is not a teenager but still) year old stepson spends his whole life manipulating and hurting feelings in order to figure out whose house will be the funnest to be at at any given moment:mine and DH's, BMs, or his freakin spoil-his-ass-rotten grandmother. He will cry, lie, pout to get to whoever's house will be the most fun. This is usually his grandmother's house. He is the only grandchild. He has actual chores (gasp!!!) at our house so it is often becoming his least favorite, even though his Dad plays Xbox with him and has more quality time with him than and Father/Son I've ever seen. A couple of weeks ago he actually said we weren't as fun b/c we don't have enough money to take him out and do stuff like his Nanna. VOMIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So anyway, if it were all left up to my SS, he would live with his Nanna and have EOW with his mom, and maybe one week a year with us.
Fake it til you make it! Smiling

rachaemdea's picture

No. No say.

If Dh is paying for you to "live" then you can give him the time to come see him. That's that. It's not going to kill you.

If you have 20 minutes, read this, it really opened my eyes:



If you have 20 minutes, read this, it really opened my eyes:


Anon2009's picture

It depends

I think it really depends on the situation. In our case, we FORCED the SDs to come visit because we knew it was in their best interests. We knew we provided the better environment with structure, rules and discipline and love. BM didn't give those kids the time of day except to badmouth DH and me. We forced them to come over because we knew it would help them to see that what they're seeing and hearing is not true.


there are some really bad situations out there. If the child is witnessing abuse, being abused, or around people with criminal records, then obviously they should not be forced to visit the non-custodial parent.

sam's picture

I think

It all depends on your situation if it were left up to my skids which it was at first we were running around all the time that has gotten to be to much time and gas money and bm bull s...!

CrystalRE's picture

I Think Not

So many times teenagers are allowed to go back and forth between parents to get what they want. Teenagers often have the art of manipulation down pat. I think that it is up to the parents to foster relationships between the "other parent" and the children. Except in cases of abuse/neglect I think that each parent needs to have set time to be with their children regardless of age.

BorBor's picture


I think you have to look at the maturity of the child, my teenage ss..NO, because BM has so much control over the ss, that we would hardly see him. When he is with us every other weekend, she is in contact with him constantly, texting, calling.

He is not strong enough to tell his mother that he would rather come here. She would lay a head trip on him if it was up to him.

stepmom929's picture

Yes, but...

it depends on their age, a 13 year old is very different than a 17 year old. Also, you don't want this to be a competition between the parents to "win over" the child so that the child wants to spend more time with them for reasons like- they have a later bedtime, get more new things, have less rules to follow, etc...
I think if the child is saying he/she doesn't want to see one of the parents there is a much deeper issue that needs to be confronted.
I guess you really need to look at the reasons WHY the child is wanting more/less time with each parent and decide whether or not it's reasonable/fair. The parents are still the parents and are in control until they're 18...

Amaurea's picture

Yes depending on the situation

If its obvious that the custodial-parent is the one REALLY saying the child "doesn't want" to come (whether its out of spite, anger, whatever) then the child should have to anyways. But if it is a steadily developing pattern from their younger childhood, like they don't spend much time with visitation and such and they are not comfortable with/doesn't feel at home at the non-custodial parent's house then it should be considered. Like sm929 said above though, it also depends on the age. If its a 13 year old then maybe the issue should be forced more. But if they are rounding up on 16/17/18 then they are close enough to adulthood that they know where they really want to be. If forcing them to come will make everyone's life miserable because of bad attitude and disrespect then why bother? The biggest point of this though is the pattern of development from earlier childhood. The parent should be tuned into the relationship they have developed over the years. If they aren't that close to you and they have a stonger relationship with the custodial parent and it is being forced upon them then it should be let go sometimes later on in the teenage years.