Dear Concerned Mother,
You have a very difficult situation on your hands; parenting is difficult enough when your children are around you 24/7, even more so when you see them only occasionally. There are a few areas I feel need addressing. Firstly, it does not sound as though you and your ex husband have the same stance when dealing with your son. If you can cast your mind back to when you were living together, I'm sure you can remember how much easier things were when you and your ex said 'no' together? If he has different rules at your house and at his father's house, he will manipulate you - all children are master manipulators. Secondly, whether you can see him smoking dagga or not, it is not ok. He needs to stop. There are long term, permanent side effects to smoking dagga including memory loss and lung diseases. The same is true for his drinking at parties, it needs to be controlled. Finally, you are there to protect him, not to cover for him. Seeing him as little as you do, I can understand that you want the time you spend together to be pleasant, but please do be careful of the messages you are sending him. Every time you cover for him or help him out of a jam, despite what you say, he will get a message of 'its ok'. Having said all of this, I am thrilled to see that you are ready to tackle this matter head on, the first step is always the hardest but worthwhile in the end. Please visit www.medpages.co.za to search for a psychologist in your area. It may also be worthwhile to contact tough love at firstname.lastname@example.org or 0861 868 445. They will be able to give you some guidance as well.
All the best.
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