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Question
Posted by: stepmom | 2007/04/11

How to handle son's anger

My husband has a son 18 years from previous marriage. Divorced when he was 3 months old. We have been married for 17 years, two children. Ex-wife remarried when son was 3.

Lots of problems with visitation when he was young. At 11 had to go to court. Family advocate ruled in husband's favour and court order was issued. When son was 14, moved with mother to PE. Only saw him 2 holidays per year. Relationship between father and son went from fairly good to bad. Son had problems adjusting. School work suffered, smoked and also on occasion drank. Tried to keep up the relationship, but son started to not respond to sms messages, not answering his phone, and not really communicating when he did answer. Saw him last year April holiday. Sort of refused to come this past December. Had a shouting fight with father over the phone just before Christmas. Father then realised that he has been fed a lot of lies about the actual reasons for the divorce. Accused father crudely of being unfaithful and throwing him and his mother away. Said he did not want him and feels nothing for him. Most of what was said is the result of a very bitter mother trying to influence her child against the father. Father does not feel that it is right to bad mouth his mother and that is what will happen if he has to explain his side to the child. Child does not seem to be interested in listening anyway. Since then no contact between the two. Child contacts half sister (13) now and then and even tried to influence her against the father. We cannot expect any co-operation from the mother. Tried to communicate with her, but she just blames my husband for everything and see herself as being totally innocent. Should one just leave things as they are or should my husband try and speak to his son. He has always paid maintenance, school fees and medical expenses on time. Birthdays, Christmas and special occasions was never forgotten.

What is the best approach?

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Our expert says:
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It's tragic how often a bitter mother or father will cause such damage to their children in order to try to get back at their ex, isn't it ? Would there be any point in discussing the situation with the half-sister, so she could handle it usefully if and when the boy contacts her ? Hard to say, not knowing the individuals as you do, how best your husband could contact the boy --- the primary communication would be, not to leap into deep conversation, but to communicate that he has always cared and continues to care, and wants to remain open to dialogie and discussion, with maybe a suggestion that the boy should be cautious not to accept entirely a one-sided and self-serving version of past events. Then keep the door open, and let the boy come when he will

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Our users say:
Posted by: Echelle | 2007/04/11

I say that a person should always try and make things right before it's too late!

Reply to Echelle

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