Have Mental Health Questions? Ask a Psychiatrist Online
Welcome to JA. My name is ***** ***** I am a licensed psychotherapist in private practice in NYS. I am preparing my reply and will post in one moment.
I am glad that you are questioning what is best for your stepson, and seeking support. I understand why you are concerned and may want to protect him from a negative experience. However, he is old enough to be naturally curious and interested in other aspects of who he is and who he is related to. At 11 years old he is developmentally able to sort out his feelings and questions in partnership with you as his guide. It is important to give him a safe space to share with you what he wants to gain from the contact, what his feelings are, what he might be worried about, etc. without judgment or feeling guilty or like he is betraying anyone he loves. Give him positive reinforcement for being honest with you and help him to understand that you know this is important to him. Let him know that he may hear things or learn things that might be hard but that you will be there to help him sort it all out every step of the way. Also it would be wise to put some conditions on the meeting that you think will provide him as safe an environment as possible, such as that you must be there with him for this to happen. It would also be a good idea to have a conversation with the step sisters or their guardian to gauge how sensitive they can be toward his needs. I know this is difficult but I can tell you from personal and professional experience the need to connect with biological parents, siblings, etc. that you have lost does not just go away. It is best that he start to approach this now while his life is less complicated and he has your guidance and support, I hope this is helpful. Please let me know if I can help any further. I wish you and him all the best. Sincerely, ***** ***** LMSW, CASAC