Have Parenting Questions? Ask a Parenting Counselor for Answers
Good afternoon, I would like to assist you today.
The loss of a parent, no matter what the age of a child, can be a very hurtful and difficult loss to handle, for some time. I lost my father to cancer when I was 8, so I can definitely understand the pain that comes with that. I also can understand the feelings of children when their parents move on to a new relationship after the loss of a husband or wife. After several years of being alone, my mother as well began dating. I had no problem with it, but it seems that my older brother didn't care for it too much. This seems to be common, especially with male children upon losing their fathers. After Dad passes, the oldest son is generally the man of the house, and along with that, the idea of another man taking his father's place makes him uneasy.
What your friend's son has to realize, however, is that his mom is an adult, a woman, and just like anyone else, she has wants and needs. She has taken on the responsibility of raising these young men alone for 6 years, and now that she is done, she wishes to move on with her life as an adult, and willingly find happiness. Her son has to respect that she has withheld from relationships for 6 whole years, and strictly raised those boys. Now they are adults, and Mom is ready to live her adult life, free of raising children, and find some happiness of her own. I wouldn't want to think that her son wants her to be lonely and unhappy, this needs to be explained to him, if it hasn't been put that way already.
I agree with your assessment. Do you think my friend should explain this to her son or would it be better if someone else spoke with him?
I think that if she has not already explained it to him in this way herself, she definitely should. Perhaps you also have a good relationship with the young man, definitely get your friend's approval first, but perhaps you could get through to him, or maybe even his younger brother who you say seems to have no problem with your mom's new boyfriend. Did her son know her boyfriend when the two were just friends, and how did he like him then if so?
Yes, her new boyfriend has been a family friend for 20 years. Both boys grew up with him and liked him very much. He's a very nice man. If noone is able to get through to my friend's son, how do you think my friend should proceed?
Well if your friends son has had a good relationship with her boyfriend for 20 years, perhaps he (boyfriend) could invite him (son) out one day (to dinner, lunch, for a drink, etc.) and explain his intentions and the same ideas that I have expressed to you to her son.
That's a nice idea. Thanks so much for your help.
If no one is able to get through to him, your friend must move on with her life. She has done, and I am sure will continue to do her duty as a mother, but those two young men are grown, and she has to live her life. If her son will not be comfortable at the house, perhaps the two of them should develop some realistic timeline for him to move on his own, meanwhile, mom still has her life. Maybe to respect her son, she will not have her boyfriend over all of the time when he is there, but it will also be best if her son is not there all of the time, and has other things to do, and places to go, so that she will not feel any pressure when she wants to be with her boyfriend, and she shouldn't have to.
Yes, agreed. Thanks, again.