How do visits with your child work?
In general, when your child is in foster care, it’s up to DCP&P to arrange visits that will occur for one hour every other week at the DCP&P office. Your attorney can help you obtain longer and more frequent times to meet up with your child. You also may be able to arrange things, so that you meet with your child outside the DCP&P office at a place like a park or restaurant. Your attorney can help you negotiate other elements of the process, such as when and how you can communicate with your child via mail, phone and email, etc.
How should you make most of the visits with your child?
The number one rule is to be as pleasant as possible. Put away distractions, such as your cell phone, and be your best self.
Demonstrating good behavior at the visits can obviously help you, while losing control verbally, emotionally or physically will obviously not be helpful. Especially since you face false or trumped up allegations, you may find these visits quite emotionally challenging.
Perhaps the child is now living with the ex-spouse who lied about you, and the child has grown to believe the false tale that’s been constructed. Or maybe the child is not sure who is telling the truth. Use active listening. Be empathetic. Try to reflect your child’s feelings and needs without getting caught up in your own thoughts, feelings or drama.
For instance, let’s say that your child reports that he got a string of D’s and C’s on his report card. He used to be a mostly A and B student. This revelation about the report card could be quite charged. Your instinct might be to sympathize, tell stories, get emotional, blame, etc. For instance you might find yourself saying things along the lines of:
- “I’m really disappointed.”
- “This is all my fault. If I hadn’t got myself into this mess, your grades would be better.”
- “Your teachers are obviously not listening to you.”
- “I remember when my friend Johnny went through something similar.”
Engaging in this manner makes the situation all about you and your feelings and needs. Instead, take a step back and just be a mirror for your child. You can follow this three-step process.
- Just reflect the objective facts of the situation, almost as if you were a video camera recording the scene.
- Guess at what the child is feeling and needing in light of those facts.
- Make a simple, actionable, and positive request.
For instance: “Wow, you got a string of D’s and C’s on this report card. Last semester, when we were all together as a family, you got all A’s and B’s. I’m guessing you might be feeling embarrassed and scared to show me this report card, because you’re worried about how I might react. Did I get that right?”
Never assume that you understand what other people are feeling. Instead, try to listen from the heart. Do you see how this approach is profoundly different and potentially more useful?
For skillful, experienced assistance battling back against untrue allegations of child abuse or neglect, call the Williams Law Group, LLC immediately at (908) 810-1083.