Father wants contact
8 August 2021 at 7:07 am #57341
Hello. My son’s father has lived away from us for 10 years. They’ve always spoken on Facetime and met up twice a year. He’s now getting married and wants to live closer and see more of his son. He’s started telling me what we can and can’t do and wants me to get his approval for all sorts of things. He’s painted a beautiful picture of how life could be for my son. My son is excited, but his behaviour has been terrible. I have been very emotional too. I snapped at my son and now he’s very cross with me. Before this we were both thriving. Please help. What should I do next?8 August 2021 at 5:01 pm #57352
I would suggest to try and keep things peaceful between you and your ex. try and put the child first. what kind of arrangement has your ex proposed?29 August 2021 at 6:20 am #58328
I will do. It’s made me feel very anxious which will not help anyone.29 August 2021 at 1:01 pm #58332
Hi Almond Tree,
sorry to hear you are experiencing this, it doesn’t seem fair after a whole decade of minimal contact to just swan in now it suits him & start acting king of the castle/ some sort of controlling boss… has he done anything extra to earn or deserve his sudden overbearing control or ‘respect’ he seems to be demanding, or is this just his whim?
personally, i think this would be unsettling for anyone, it doesn’t seem like he is respect you or your sons feelings or needs first. Reads like performative grandeur, especially if he’s filling your son head with promises or fantastical ideas he’s never been able to fulfil before.
In balance, it is good he’d like to be more involved & actually be a responsible parent… for the first time in 10 years. But… he needs to understand, your son is not some object he own or has any automatic right to. Your son is a developing human, with thoughts & feelings he is responsible to provide & care for…. that you have done a great job & all the work to raise independently every day.
If he wasn’t already effecting your sons behaviour negatively, your precious bond & family balance, or your mental health… I’d say it’s great he ‘wants’…finally… but he needs to respect your son needs stability & security & reliability first, let it him in gradually & give him a chance to prove himself.
As the way he is choosing to do this is affecting your mental health (totally understandable), your sons behaviour & your relationship… i’d say, you wouldn’t be doing anything wrong to put your foot down & call in a reality check before he does any more damage. especially, as your son sounds like he’s at a vital age & the consequences of having his ‘input’ or potentially, dropping your son in priority (again), when it suits him… could be very destabilising & devastating.
sounds like he needs to realise… you are the one who has done all the day to day work; especially after a whole decade+!! if he now ‘wants’ more involvement, he hasn’t earned it. You don’t owe him anything. He doesn’t have any legal right to more contact, the reality is he has as much as you allow, if he wants more; you have every legal right to just say no. He’d have to go to court, where he’d have to prove himself. He doesn’t have any right to suddenly be overbearing or controlling.. if he has any respect he needs to understand he needs to gradually prove himself to your son as someone stable, trustworthy not just grand words. He’d respect your feelings, be accountable & realise how important the relationship between you & your son is, for your sons wellbeing.
Might be a good idea to get some healthy professional support around this, he sounds like a handful & a headcase!… personally highly recommend ‘relate’ who can support you as an individual, they understand how to manage conflict & difficult behaviour and can provide free mediation to help negotiate something healthy with your sons emotional needs first. They would be able to work with him too if he is open to it.
Gingerbread helpline is definitely worth a chat with too, they’d be familiar with this stuff & be able to signpost you to local support.
might also be worth a chat with the school, say dad has pranced back in & its having an effect, they might have access to bit more independent emotional support for your son & be mindful if any issues pop up at school. – can be all the difference to have support for him, that’s not just you.
hope this helps xx – all the best. you and your son deserve to be put first in this! & you’ve more than earned it !29 August 2021 at 3:51 pm #58334
Thank you. That’s spot on and so helpful x