Our expert says:
While we may all agree that the decisive factor in such situations should be the best interests of the child, it can be so hard to know what would actually, especially in the long run, BE in the child's bests interests.
With an alcoholic or drug addict, especially one who is Ok for stretches of time and then disappears on binges, its especially difficult.
I wonder what your son has been told ( by various people, including you and his dad ) and ( not the same as what he was told ) what he thinks and believes about his father. DOes he know about the addiction problems ?
Insisting that the father work to stay clean for some time before resuming ordinary visiting makes sense - but then its hard to prevent his suddenly turning up as he did on this occasion - and whatever you then do, can be very upsetting for the child.
If you had previously explained calmly to the boy WHY his father disappears and why you have good reasons for concern about this, it might have been easier for him to understand what happened and how you handled it.
And make sure you explain to the father how much his disappearances hurt the boy, and how, although the boy is still very forgiving about this, he should be very aware of how his druig choices are impacting on the boy.
Explain to the boy that you fear him being hurt by the unreliability of his dad, who is likely to disappear again and again. Maybe let the boy have input into your decisions - is he prepared to accept the likeliood that his father will be fine at times, but also disappear unpredictably, and the pain that causes him, for the pleasure of seeing dad at times when he's doing OK ?
Let him share the decision, rather than leaving him grounds for feeling that it is your meanness and unkindness that is forcing his loving dad from being around and visiting him, rather than understanding that it is his father's greater faithfulness to his drugs.
Childen are often better able than we adults, to distinguish between a person you may love, and their choices and actions which you may hate.
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