Answer to a worried parent
Posted By: Suzy Miller on 25/02/2023 at 14:22
This mother is concerned that her 11-year-old son has asked her not to bring round her boyfriend, even though for many months her new man has been fantastic with her kids and everything seems to be going perfectly.
Her son has just said he wants some space. This was my response – which may be useful to some of you hear.
“ Your son is old enough to understand and respect that you’re allowed to have friends too.
And that your friends can come over just the same as his friends can. If as you say, this is not a full on moving in stage, then it’s really important to set reasonable boundaries about what your needs are as well as being respectful towards your son. At the end of the day, your son will grow up and leave. He has no long-term responsibilities towards you, and you do need to put yourself first and be happy, because that’s gonna make you a better parent.
Maybe it’s just a case of not being apologetic, of not trying to justify the fact that you have fallen in love with someone really lovely and that you want to share at least some of your life with them, even if for the moment they may not be there all the time. That’s okay.
It’s fantastic that you listen to your son and hear what he says. But it’s perfectly reasonable to expect him to at least try to acknowledge your position as well. It may be that for a while you have to agree to disagree and find ways to help your son to tolerate the situation.
Could it be that he has a fear of you leaving like his dad did? In the sense of him living with you, and his dad not being there any more – irrespective of the reasons behind it?
It’s not a fear that you should discuss with him because it’s probably unconscious, but it would be quite natural. Just being aware of that possibility and empathic and reassuring him how much you love being with him to and you’re there for him not just emotionally but physically for as long as he needs you , you will be caring for him as his mother. Any relationships that you have outside of that are no threat to your relationship with him. That’s probably what he needs to hear.”