What to Do if Your Child Doesn't Want to Go on Vacation with Your Ex

If your child doesn't want to go on vacation with your ex, the best thing to do is to try to calm them, listen, and encourage them to go.
What to Do if Your Child Doesn't Want to Go on Vacation with Your Ex

Last update: 17 August, 2022

It’s vacation time and, in many cases, parents are separated, so the children have to divide the summer period accordingly. However, it may happen that your child doesn’t want to go on vacation with your ex. So what can be done about it? We’ll tell you in this article.

Sometimes, the vacation period can be a time of conflict between adults when it comes to reaching an agreement on how to divide the time with their children. However, in other cases, it’s the child who expresses that they don’t want to spend two weeks away from what they consider their home, but they’re forced to go to comply with their parents’ agreement. Dialoguing with the child, trying to calm them down, and encouraging them to make the best use of those days in the most appropriate way to act in these cases.

If my child calls me crying to take them home, what should I do?

It’s important to be firm when explaining to your child that they can’t come with you because they’re on vacation with your ex. In any case, you should always try to make them feel calm and understood. This way, the first thing to do is to calm the child down, listen to them, and then analyze the situation to find solutions.

If this happens, for example, you can tell them: “I miss you too and I love you very much, but now you have to enjoy the rest of the days you have left with your mother/father and have the best time possible. Soon we’ll be together again”. After this, it’s a good idea to change the subject, ask them about the things they’re doing, about what the place where they are is like, if they’ve made new friends, among other things.

A boy crying.
If your child cries or sounds sad, you must try to calm them down, listen to them, and analyze the situation before making hasty decisions.

My child doesn’t want to be with my ex-partner because they say he/she doesn’t treat them well

If your child tells you that they don’t want to go on vacation with your ex because he or she mistreats them, it’s important to remain calm and not to react until you have all the information. Then, what you have to do is ask them what situations have led them to think that they’re not treated well at home by the other parent and, with this information, evaluate how to solve the issue.

If the child’s relationship with your ex-partner isn’t good, we’ll tell your child that you’re going to talk to the other party to see what can be done to make them feel better. When the dialogue between the adults has been established, you’ll have to consider how the problem can be solved. One option may be to tell the other parent what the rules are at home, in case they want to apply them if they consider it appropriate.

Finally, we should talk to the child to explain that they have to tell the other party how they feel because if they don’t, they may not know and may not do anything to improve the situation. This way, everyone will know what’s going on and can consider the necessary changes to make the child feel more at ease.

A child high fiving her father via a video call.
Being available to talk to your child on the phone or make video calls will provide greater peace of mind and security.

What can I do in this situation?

Then, if your child doesn’t want to go on vacation with your ex, you can use your emotional intelligence skills to solve the problem with assertiveness. In these cases, you can follow the following steps:

  1. Listen to what the child has to say without judging them: Your child must perceive that there’s a space of trust and security, where they don’t feel that they might be punished for what they say.
  2. Encourage them to express what they feel: It’s important not to pressure them but do try to make it easier for them to express their emotions.
  3. Empathize with your child: You can say something like this: “I know that right now, you don’t feel like going away and spending so many days with mom or dad, but you also have to spend time with your other parent. I’ll miss you too.”
  4. Help them understand the situation and encourage them: It’s best to encourage them to do the activities they enjoy at the other parent’s house. A good phrase would be: “Mom/Dad loves you very much and also likes to spend time with you. We’ve already spent many days together and this vacation will go by very quickly. Before you know it, you’ll be back home. Also, take advantage of the fact that you’ll be going to the beach and doing lots of fun things.”
  5. Make them see that you’ll always be there for them: Give them the option to talk on the phone or make video calls when they think it’s necessary.

On what to do if your child doesn’t want to go on vacation with your ex

When your child doesn’t want to go on vacation with your ex-partner, it’s important to take things calmly in order to find out why they feel that way. The most important thing is to apply common sense, take into account the feelings of the child, and always do what’s in their best interest. These steps that we’ve given you in this article may help you if you find yourself in a similar situation.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Orozco, S. M. L., & Duque, L. J. O. Cómo afecta el divorcio y/o separación a los niños y adolescentes. Bases teóricas de la psiquiatría infantil, 177.
  • Roizblatt, A., Leiva, V. M., & Maida, A. M. (2018). Separación o divorcio de los padres. Consecuencias en los hijos y recomendaciones a los padres y pediatras. Revista chilena de pediatría89(2), 166-172.  En internet: https://www.scielo.cl/scielo.php?pid=S0370-41062018000200166&script=sci_arttext&tlng=pt
  • Gómez-Ortiz, O., Martín, L., & Ortega-Ruiz, R. (2017). Conflictividad parental, divorcio y ansiedad infantil. Pensamiento psicológico15(2), 67-78. En internet: http://www.scielo.org.co/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1657-89612017000200006

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.