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hintonrae, Teacher and Youth Mentor
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 513
Experience:  Mother of Three (Teen, Middle School, and Toddler), High school Teacher, Youth Mentor, Tutor, Writer, Family Blogger, MAEd
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My son was 2 years old with behavioral problems, introduced

Customer Question

My son was 2 years old with behavioral problems, introduced to new boyfriends parents well they have been best friends since, for 3 years he practically lived there at their house, in his world it's mama and papa noone else. They do everything for him, to the museums, play centers to let him play with other kids, out of town for the coasters and water parks, everything. They pick him from school, help him with homework, feed him, bath him, put him to bed, I mean everything. They buy his clothes. He has the toys, they put away money for college for him, have money put away for his first car. Now he entered their life with behavioral problems, they have helped him with some over time, he was a bully, it took them the whole year of kindergarten to stop the hitting. They help me bought me all new work clothes, gave me money to fix my car, even this past January when we had no place to live, they moved us in asked nothing of me told you can stay as long as you want. They love him to death and loves them to. Moved to a new town in March, got into a new relationship, decided to let him finish school there in the previous town, he would stay there a few nights a week as my job has crazy hours. Well when school ended I told them I want him to bond with my now fiancé, so I didn't let them see them anymore, but it's always mama and papa I want to go to their house, he cries. He would live there if he could. Now understand his real grandparents have never showed any interest in him. They were the first and their not his real grandparents. My ex recently married and I'm engaged now, and its just mama and papa all the time. He only wants to there. He doesn't listen to us, my ex's new wife says he's a spoiled brat. This week my ex, his wife, my fiancé and I decided to give his mama and papa a conference call and tell them you can see him no more, of course all 3 of them are crushed and torn apart. My question is how will this affect my son taking away his mama and papa, he is 6 years old now and was with them since 2. Was this the right decision.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Parenting
Expert:  hintonrae replied 1 year ago.

Thanks for your question and your loving concern for the needs of your child. This is a difficult situation. It's awkward because you and your ex have split up, gone your separate ways, and clearly moved on--you are with other people. There are others, though, that have not moved on: your son and the couple that he has always considered his grandparents. Based on their actions toward him, I would guess that they have always considered him their grandchild, as well, even though there was no blood involved.

Here's the thing: legally, technically--there is no reason for you guys to perpetuate the relationship. But don't we have those "honorary" aunts and uncles, those "second" mothers and grandmothers...who in the absence of the real thing or even alongside the real thing, are so very dear to our hearts? I have many relationships like this personally. My best friend's daughter is a young lady I have known and cherished as my own since she was around 7. She is now in her early 20s, and comes to me regularly for advice and maybe dinner or a movie.

The situation is compounded because as you say, your son had behavioral problems. These problems, especially at such a young age, might stem from or be connected to other things. In my experience as an educator, behavioral difficulties often walk hand in hand with emotional problems. Even at 6 years old, your son may simply not be able to deal with the emotional impact of the loss of this relationship, which is akin to his grandparents rejecting him or dying.

I would like to stress to you that you have done nothing wrong--you have honestly and sincerely ***** ***** do what you guys believe to be in the best interests of your boy, and that is truly admirable. My advice is to take a step back, though, and make a list of pros and cons of separating your son from your ex's parents. When you look at the advantages of doing so, are they favorable more to your son and his "mama and papa", or to your ex and yourself? Do they help you guys avoid the awkwardness of seeing each other, and having your new other halves having to deal with the situation? How does the separation benefit your son? Ask yourself the hard questions.

Afterwards, if you see more benefits in the separation, I would take a slower, gentler approach. Fewer visits, spaced out more. Fill your son's time, when he misses "mama and papa" with other fun pursuits and time with you and your new fiancé. Encourage your fiancé's parents to get to know him, and educate them on how to handle him so that behavior is not an issue. Perhaps he has sensitivities to noise, light, textures, etc. that make behavior difficult.

My best to you, and please let me know if I can be of further assistance. :)