Judge Tells Mom: Punish Kids For Skipping Visits With Dad

Filed under: Divorce & Custody, In The News, Weird But True

Australian kids who want to skip visits with dad may find themselves without video games, television or other favorite pastimes.

A judge has ordered a mother to deny her children privileges until they comply with a court order requiring them to spend time with their father.The judge said noncustodial parents need to "positively encourage" visitation and start "removing privileges if the child was defiant," according to an article in The Australian.

The father asked the court to intervene when his children chose to walk home to their mother's house rather than meet him for a scheduled after-school visit. The 43-year-old dad later received a call from his ex who told him the boys, aged 11 and 12, "did not wish to go with them," according to the article.

The problem is "very prevalent" among American fathers as well, Mitchell K. Karpf, chair of the American Bar Association's Family Law section, told ParentDish.

Judges here have the power to enact similar rulings after a divorce, he said.

"Mom does have an obligation to say you're going to see your dad and if you don't you're grounded," said Karpf, who practices in Florida.

Judges also can take parents to task for badmouthing former spouses or preventing visitation.

A Florida court once ordered a mother to tell her children that it was "her desire" that they see and love their father, Karpf said. Encouraging children to maintain relationships with both parents makes sense, according to the American Psychological Association. Children in joint custody arrangements have fewer behavior issues, do better in school and have higher self esteem, according to a 2002 study published in the Journal of Family Psychology.

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.