My ex-husband has stopped seeing our son, age ten, because he’s “too busy” with his son, age two, from his new marriage.
My son’s deeply hurt, and misses his father, who, despite our marital problems when together, was a decent father.
Our mutual friends blame his new wife, who doesn’t want him to have anything to do with his past family.
But I feel that’s not an excuse; he could stand up to her regarding his son.
But what do I say to my son, who’s starting to act out in school and is often moody at home? He used to always be upbeat and well behaved.
I knew when I separated that there’d be tough times, but I never thought my ex would abandon his own child.
Disgusted and Concerned
Focus on what you can do for your son.
Be understanding of his behaviour and moods, but not indulgent of them.
Explain some of what’s going on in his life to the school principal and his teacher.
Be encouraging and positive with him about his abilities and friendships, because his father’s distancing may have him doubting himself.
Get him together with any positive male role models in his life – an uncle, grandfather, and close family friend.
Keep him actively involved with sports he likes and other interests, e.g. after-school clubs, teams, weekend outings.
If you have a chance to speak to your ex without rancor, simply say that his son misses him and the good times they had together.
Consider suggesting that he take both his sons out together sometimes, so long as your boy is agreeable to that (and IF the new wife will allow it).
My mother has always struggled with severe alcoholism.
My father pays for her alcohol and cigarettes, as she doesn’t work.
He doesn't want to go through a costly divorce knowing she’d take everything from him.
She and I didn't get along whatsoever when I was in my teens, and I moved out at 19.
I was really happy on my own, even though I struggled working part-time and putting myself through college.
My dad helped me as much as he could. I then moved home because I had an opportunity to get a better job after college and couldn't afford rent and a necessary vehicle.
I give my mother rent money, but I'll stay at my boyfriend's house frequently, though he lives at home while still at school.
However, I can't stand to see my mother intoxicated and talking nonsense anymore. She refuses to go to rehab.
She drinks daily, picks fights with my dad and me, so I avoid the house while he avoids her after work.
When I know she's had a drink, I feel intense rage.
Yet I may be here for at least another year and half.
How can I live with an alcoholic who doesn't believe she has a problem?
I hate my mother, and fear that once I move out again, I’ll never want to talk to her again.
Beware of hatred – it can eat into all your emotions and instincts.
It’s tough to live with an alcoholic mother, and that’s why Al-Anon has been so effective providing support and understanding to family and close friends dealing with an alcoholic.
Attend a local group meeting and learn how others have handled their situation, what boundaries they’ve been able to set, etc. Your father would also benefit from attending, and may go with you.
We’re grandparents of four near-teenagers.
We’ve never had the opportunity to be with them alone, either for a movie, sleepover, or dinner.
Our daughter-in-law's family has been involved with constant bonding and trips, holidays celebrations, etc.
We feel that we were good parents, but perhaps our son’s been brainwashed otherwise.
We’re so angry and disappointed with him, and the loss he’s caused us.
Are we wrong to be so consumed with these feelings? Any advice?
Your feelings are understandable, but being “consumed” with them is harmful and self-defeating.
It affects your health and well-being, and can harm your relationship which is even more important now.
You may not have seen these grandchildren on your own, but have you visited, had email contact, sent texts, cards on special occasions, attended school and sports events that were open to family?
Unless this access is forbidden, there’s still a chance for making a connection with your grandchildren.
Tip of the day:
When a child’s parent distances, the other must give strong support and encouragement.