I'm at a loss as to how to handle my son's father. He isn't the best person, and he has a history of emotional abuse towards his wife, but he has gotten better. In the past I have had to do damage control with my son.
My son used to go to his father's for birthdays or a dirt biking trip, but would text me throughout the visit. Now, at 12, he has no interest in seeing his father. I tried to keep the relationship going, but I seem to be the only one.
I would imagine you would call your child or see him as much as possible if you didn't live with him, even if your child shows no interest. But he has five kids, is married, works out of town during the week and is busy.
My son has a wonderful stepfather who he has known all his life. He adores him and calls him dad. Is this enough for him?
It kills me to see my son without a relationship with his birth father. He is the most amazing kid and I don't see how his father can't see that.
Pat, your son has a great stepfather, a man who fills the role of father for him. That's a template upon which he can build his life. There's a huge difference between fathering a child and being a father. Your son understands the difference.
You have given him examples of both what a man should be and what a man should not be. Why do you keep shoving him at the bad example? Do you think if he accepts his biological father it will exonerate your judgment in having a child with him?
Eric Hoffer said, "It is not so much the example of others we imitate as the reflection of ourselves in their eyes..." What your son sees in his birth father's eyes is that he is a person of little consequence.
~ Wayne & Tamara
Stone In The Shoe
My stepson graduated high school last night. He has four sets of grandparents. Both his father's parents and his mother's parents are divorced and remarried. All traveled from out of state for the event.
His father's parents get along with one another and have no problem with his ex-wife or her parents. Her parents, however, made it clear they did not want to share the experience with my husband or his family.
The maternal grandparents requested that my husband not attend the graduation, but if he must come, not to bring his parents or me. We went, but sat well apart from them.
After graduation, while still on the field, my stepson had to go back and forth between two sets of family members. When my husband walked over to their group to make plans to celebrate, his ex-in-laws actually walked away, refusing to talk to him.
The end result? My stepson has two sets of photos from his graduation. Sadly, there was no big family celebration either. We will be facing this at every milestone in the future, including next year when my other stepson graduates. What can we do?
Tatiana, the maternal grandparents are free to ask your husband and his family not to attend, just as they are free to ask Bill Gates for a million dollars. But neither you nor Bill Gates need respond to their requests.
These events are for the child. The other side of the family doesn't get to deprive you of attending, and possibly, make the boys think you don't care.
Make it plain to the other side you are willing to be agreeable, but they will be seeing you at every event, where you will keep your cool and participate fully.
For you and your husband, this will be like developing an immunity or growing a callus. You will get stronger for dealing with them.
Wayne & Tamara
Column for the week of July 1, 2013
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