Feeling like I have failed my son
31 March 2018 at 8:11 pm #9421
My son has started school in September and has just started noticing other families. He has started asking questions like ‘why doesn’t my daddy live with me’ and ‘why can’t I have a brother or sister’ or ‘why does my daddy not visit me’.
It’s so hard and I know it’s not my fault but I feel like I’ve failed him as I wasn’t able to give him a ‘normal’ family.
I have bought him so books on different families and he generally is a very happy boy but when he asks these questions it feels like someone has punched me in the stomach. Anyone else struggle with this?31 March 2018 at 9:15 pm #9422
<div style=”color: #000000; font-family: UICTFontTextStyleTallBody; font-size: 17px;”>Hi</div>
<div style=”color: #000000; font-family: UICTFontTextStyleTallBody; font-size: 17px;”>Yes, I have the same feeling. My eyes well up every time. How long has your separation been?</div>
<div style=”color: #000000; font-family: UICTFontTextStyleTallBody; font-size: 17px;”>I’m a dad who has sole responsibility for my son, he’s 5. I’ve been on my own for 2 years. His mum does see him but it’s 20 mins here and there and a weekly trip to the toy shop, when he goes to see her mum (Grandma), to buy what he wants. Not much else.</div>
<div style=”color: #000000; font-family: UICTFontTextStyleTallBody; font-size: 17px;”>The talks about our home dynamic have been so hard for me, but my son seems to have dealt with it really well. He’s doing great at school, has loads of friends etc. It’s more me struggling tbh.</div>
<div style=”color: #000000; font-family: UICTFontTextStyleTallBody; font-size: 17px;”>I’ve approached it in a very direct way… All families are different. Mum loves you (hurts to say but it feels right). I love you and will always love you. I will always be here for you. And everything I can think of that will make him feel secure, safe and loved.</div>
<div style=”color: #000000; font-family: UICTFontTextStyleTallBody; font-size: 17px;”>I think the brutal truth can wait. At such a young age let’s pretend that our life’s different but not bad and we are happy.</div>
<div style=”color: #000000; font-family: UICTFontTextStyleTallBody; font-size: 17px;”>Definitely don’t feel like you failed him. I’ve been there. Along with anger and sadness. I’m really no expert, just trying my best and learning everything online as bed time reading! Be honest with your boy and talk about it in a direct manner. Kids are smart so he’ll feel more secure with you if you’re open and not dodging the subject.</div>
<div style=”color: #000000; font-family: UICTFontTextStyleTallBody; font-size: 17px;”>I can’t provide answers for your son’s specific questions. The circumstances are needed for that.</div>
<div style=”color: #000000; font-family: UICTFontTextStyleTallBody; font-size: 17px;”>I’m not sure any of this helps, maybe just knowing you’re not alone and if you have any gems for me I would be most grateful.</div>
<div style=”color: #000000; font-family: UICTFontTextStyleTallBody; font-size: 17px;”>M</div>31 March 2018 at 9:33 pm #9423
Thanks for your response, It’s come up a bit funny on my phone bit I think I can read it.
We separated when my son was 2 weeks and he has just turned 5 years so it is nothing new to me. I think starting school has just made it harder, as before that it was just the two of us and he didn’t really notice that we aren’t a family with a dad. His dad used to see him a couple of times a month but he hasn’t seen him in about 5 months now, he is refusing to see him unless I submit to his ridiculous terms (he insists on our son being brought to his house but then won’t tell me where he lives etc).
I think the way you have approached it sounds spot on and is similar to how I handle it. Being honest but not too liberal with the truth. I tell my son that I don’t know why daddy doesn’t visit but that we both love you and you’ve done nothing wrong. I talk about how families are different and how lucky he is to have such brilliant grandparents as some children may not have that (my parents are very involved).
I guess I know I haven’t really failed. It’s just draining as all other 19 children in his class have very involved dad’s who are still with the mother and they all live as a happy family. I’ve been to a lot of the childrens parties lately and I feel like the odd one out. It’s just nice to talk to others in the same boat.
Sorry for the essay!! How old is your son and how long have you been a single parent?31 March 2018 at 9:57 pm #9428
Yeah it seems to work fairly well. That’s good that your child hasn’t acknowledged it or noticed it too much. How old is he/she?
I suppose I am lucky that it doesn’t seem to effect my son too much, he is doing well at school and has lots of friends. I’m hoping I’m more worried about it than he is!31 March 2018 at 10:00 pm #9430
Hi, sorry, I’ve no idea why my response had so much unnecessary text – I’ve only been on here a couple of days.
My boys 5 and therefore also has just started full time school in September. I’ve been doing this on my own for 2 years.
I think, maybe, we got off a bit easy as our partners left when the boys were young (yours especially). Do you agree it would have affected them more at an older age ie now they’re 5?
Do you have family around? I do thank god. J’s got cousins from 18-4 years which makes a HUGE difference.
Please don’t post with weird text this time…..31 March 2018 at 10:09 pm #9431
Haha that’s okay, I thought it was my mobile phone! Yes I definitely think that it would be harder on them both if it happened now when they are older. I think the only reason it is being mentioned now is because he is at school and seeing other dad’s and how they are different to his own dad.
My mum and dad are really involved but there aren’t any other children in our family. That’s great that your little one has cousins. I really envy that. My boy often asks why he can’t have a brother or sister. I would love to give him one but I obviously can’t as I don’t have a partner. I think I’m just feeling the guilt that he doesn’t have those normal family roles. I feel like I have to be mum/dad/sibling all in one lol!
Where are you from?31 March 2018 at 10:22 pm #9432
Yeah, that rings a bell. Being mum, dad and sibling and don’t forget good cop/bad cop as well! That’s a tricky one!
Im in N London. You?
I also think it’s important to remember that kids ask questions all the time… about everything. We’ve all heard “why” more times than we care to remember. So, naturally they’ll quiz us on their home life. It’s a perfectly healthy question and we should almost be proud that they’re bringing the subject up and not shying away.31 March 2018 at 10:38 pm #9433
Yeah that is true about them questioning everything! I suppose he hasn’t questioned it any more than he would any other topic. And when I go into any detail he kind of doesn’t care and wants to move on to something else if you understand what I mean 😂
I’m in the West Midlands! And yes I know what you mean about being good cop bad cop. Thanks, It feels so good to know I am not the only one in this situation! 🙂31 March 2018 at 10:44 pm #9434
my daughter had just turned 5 when her dad left, she’d only been in full time school about month. I’ve often thought it would have been easier on her had it happened when she was younger, not that it would ever have been good but you get what I mean! She questioned everything, and every question felt like a punch to the heart. Still does if I’m honest. It just me and her for the most part, my family aren’t local and not being from this area originally I’ve no long standing friends who’ve always been around. Her dad has kids from a previous relationship and he’s moved in with someone who not only has kids of her own but they’ve now had a baby, so the questions have started again. Don’t get me wrong, she’s doing great, has a good bunch of friends and is really outgoing but she’s a little girl who’s still clinging to what was……..31 March 2018 at 10:50 pm #9435
I can see why that must be really hard for your daughter sparkie. Especially your ex living with other kids and a new baby. My ex has recently had a baby too and the last time be saw our son he made a huge deal of it saying he was now a big brother. It made me really cross because I knew he would have no intention of allowing them to have a relationship and low and behold I was right. Now I have my son asking why he doesn’t see his brother. 🙁
Im sure it must be a lot easier at age 5 than at age 10 or in the teenage years. Although she was used to having him in the house children often adapt to change really quickly.31 March 2018 at 11:24 pm #9438
Hi Sparkie. I’d like to apologise. I was so blinkered in thinking I was in a conversationion with Toady that I forgot others are in different situations.
I think you’re right that age 5 is better than any older age for your daughter dealing with this solo parent stuff. My 3 sisters have teenagers, that’s when parenting gets really hard, and I’ve learnt that this is the easy bit… Believe it or not!
Cos my boy is born early September he stayed an extra year at nursery whilst almost all of his friends moved up to Reception. He was understandably upset and I spent many a sleepless night. However, I realise now that it turned out to be a blessing in disguise… He had to learn at that stage to make new friends and to deal with it, which he did brilliantly. Starting Reception last September then became easy for him and he made new friends and settled in no worries. Every fall, when they get up, makes them stronger and I guess I hope/pray that this is just another example of that!
Good luck1 April 2018 at 8:21 am #9445
Yes my daughter had the same, told she’d be a big sister and has been involved up to the point of the baby arriving. It wasn’t a straight forward birth but no one was a risk, yet this is the 4th weekend she’s not seen her dad, not has she met her baby brother. She had chicken pox for one of them so I understand that but no phone calls, nothing. My daughter was 8 weeks premature and spent 2 weeks in special care, yet he was always there for his other 2 at the weekends, sad how things have changed. His other 2 are in their teens, my daughter is 6 so she fully understands that he’s not there. I dont know how to answer her, he’s not a stupid man but I don’t think it’s even occurred to him. Yes there are other factors in play with his new partner but I’ll never understand him being this way.
on the flip side, she’s very much a mummy girl, she knows I’m always there and we’ve tried all sorts together, and life is good. Just a tad frustrating having to consider him when it suits him and I’d rather he left us alone completely. I’d never ask that as any relationship with her dad is better than none, so I’m told, so I keep my mouth shut and grit my teeth 😂😂.
no need to apologise, I’ve done the same myself! My daughter’s an October baby so had the extra time at nursery too and went through the same. Schools always been a good thing for her as she’s like a sponge and loves learning, it proved a brilliant distraction for her during the upheaval.
so what plans do you both have for the weekend, other than kids hipped up on too much chocolate lol1 April 2018 at 9:42 am #9446
My daughter’s 7 and this is all relatively new for us. Her father moved straight in with a woman with 5 kids, (3 of them in my daughter’s school). So when she’s with him, she goes from being an only child to one of 6. 🙈
So, as I’m sure you can imagine, we’ve had all sorts of conversations about families and how everyone’s is different! But through all of this, I’ve got to know some of the family’s at my daughter’s school better and have discovered that lots of her school friends have quite complex family arrangements. Not all families are as they seem from the outside. It makes it so much easier if you can say to your child that ‘xxxx is like you and has a daddy who lives with xxxxx’. It just normalises it a bit I suppose.1 April 2018 at 9:45 am #9447
Doh, just remembered the whole point of what I meant to say; yes I feel as though I have failed my daughter by not bringing her up with two loving parents living under the same roof. But I am beginning to see that that bringing her up in a home that was full of tension and where the parents were arguing a lot would have been worse. I don’t agree with the way my husband has dealt with it all but now she has at least one calm, loving, happy home with me.1 April 2018 at 11:07 am #9448
We can’t always assume that everyone else’s lives are easy, “perfect”, standard, normal, whatever – families come in a myriad of shapes and sizes and formats and kids do work out who has their best interests at heart and who doesn’t, and also that “family” doesn’t mean someone to whom they are related by blood but someone who puts in the time, effort, worry and commitment to them. I hope that one day my kids’ relationship with their father will improve but that doesn’t show any signs of happening now. I still have hope though.
A calm, loving, happy home is a wonderful thing to give to a child, AJ. Bringing up kids as a single parent is extremely hard and I expect we have all gone through and will continue to go through these and other worries and concerns but please know that whilst we may be sat alone on the sofa after they’ve gone to bed, we are not in fact alone and through this fabulous charity and its forum we can support each other. Big hugs to everyone and Happy Easter xxx