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Linda D.
Linda D., Psychotherapist, LMSW, CASAC
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 497
Experience:  LMSW, CASAC
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Unfortunately divorced family. Son (9) lives with me the

Customer Question

Unfortunately divorced family. Son (9) lives with me the father and has visitations with his mother once a week. Every week his mother (mentally in not perfect shape, several times she tried to commit suicide) is asking him questions that in my opinion are good only for her damaged ego. Questions such as "Do you love me?" When I talk with my son about how his visit was with mommy and we accidentally get to this area he seems to be very irritated and in a way very mature. He says I am her son of course I love her but not as you. You take care of me daily. Very flattering for me of course (not the purpose of my conversation with him) but I see how aggravated he is by his mom's questions. Generally how harmful are these questions and what can I do to stop her asking them if anything?
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Linda D. replied 10 months ago.

These are two very important questions, thank you for asking them on behalf of your son. My name is ***** ***** I am a psychotherapist/family therapist in private practice in New York. I would like to give you some of my thoughts and ideas based on my professional experience. I have worked with many families and children who have one or both parents who are emotionally and/or mentally unstable. Unfortunately we often can not protect children from experiencing loss, abandonment or trauma. And many times we do not have control over the behavior or exposure of unhealthy family members on the children. However, there are a few variables that determine how well children will adjust and emotionally grow through their experiences. 1). Providing an emotionally stable, safe and consistent environment allows children to internalize an emotional anchor and access comfort when in a stressful situation. It sounds like you provide this for him. I would also like to suggest that you give him something that he associates with you to have on him when he is visiting with her. 2). Allowing/encouraging him to be honest about what he feels with you at all times without judgment or negative consequences will keep him from repressing his feelings and will allow you both to become partners in his emotional resiliency. (He may be saying things to you to protect you and/or to win your approval. This can be subtle and subconscious). Encourage a wide range of expressing emotions; disappointment, anger, jealousy, frustration, etc. help him tp grow a rich, fertile inner world of awareness of his feelings and ways to express them. 3). and thirdly, kids who are the most successful at coping and overcoming childhood challenges are kids who are given the opportunity to build assets in many areas of their lives at school, with other family members, culturally, with friendships, hobbies, etc. The more strengths a child has to build from the more resilient they will be. Your son is very lucky to have a father who is looking out for his well being and asking questions of how to help him to cope and grow into a healthy person. Adversity builds strength and character when we have a strong stable person in our lives who loves us and the above suggestions are in our environment. I hope this information helps you with your situation.Please let me know if you have any questions about what I have suggested and if I can help in any other way. Thank you, Linda

Expert:  Linda D. replied 10 months ago.

Hi there, a few days ago I responded to a couple of questions you had regarding your son. i was wondering if my answers were helpful to you and if you have any further questions. i am hoping for the best for the both of you. sincerely, Linda