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Bonnie
Bonnie, Psychologist
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 2189
Experience:  and pediatric nurse practitioner with 30 years of experience counseling parents.
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I am a british parent in the usa, with a five year old and

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I am a british parent in the usa, with a five year old and a nine month old baby. My husband has always spent a great deal of time away from the home, sometimes for work, but mostly by choice. Even when he is at home, he is often in the yard smoking, and on the phone for work, and "shoos" away our five year old son. My son loves him very much and vice versa. 4 months ago, my husband took his love of the single life a little further, and took a job in Brazil, which takes him away from the home 3 weeks out of 4. I never talk badly of my husband, but I have taken the decision no longer to "cover for him" with white lies to my son about how he is forced to be away from us due to work, etc. : he made the decision because he wanted to. My son is devastated. How do I help him through? Each time my husband returns for the few days, it sets us back to square one. He is then just getting used to his Daddy being around when he leaves again.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Parenting
Expert:  Bonnie replied 6 years ago.
Hi,
It is unfortunate that dad is not feeling a closer bond to his son. His choice to be away so much speaks volumes about his priorities (unless there are no alternatives). Of course, son is just yearning for any contact and will not feel the anger that you feel but just the sadness (something missing in his heart). I know you want to punish him (Dad) and stop covering, but be careful, because son may start to act out as a reaction to your anger. He may start to become confused and mixed up about what he should feel.

Try to deal with your anger separately, and continue to reassure that "Daddy loves you but he must be away right now." To help him through, find different ways of connection between the 2 of them....drawing pictures to send through snail mail or scan and email, phone calls, SKYPE with web cams. The ideal is to have a regular time every day for them to connect. It does not need to be long even 5 minutes. Be excited with him about contact from Dad. He needs to have permission to love his dad (even if you are mad at Dad). His confusion may be that he will think he should be mad if you are.

I know the adjustments back and forth are difficult. It is similar to what a child in a divorced family experiences. Hopefully, the suggestions will help.
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