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tree 11-30-2017 01:36 PM

Help encouraging our son to see his dad?
Hey all,

My ex and I have been apart for just over 3 years. Over the past couple of years, his relationship with our son has been deteriorating. Our son is 14 now and is starting to avoid going to his dad's place, won't answer his dad's texts, won't even talk to his dad when he's at his house. He's really showing a lot of anger towards his dad.

We have shared custody and our younger son seems to get along fine with their dad.

The older son won't talk about why he's so angry and is refusing to go to family or individual therapy. I'm confused and distressed ... I really don't want him to cut his dad out of his life! I'm afraid he'll regret it down the line. He's his dad!!

I wish I knew why he was so angry ... I have been wondering if it has something to do with his dad's sexuality. My ex told me earlier this year that he's not straight, and in a recent meeting with our family therapist told me that he's either bi- or pan-sexual and alluded to a polyamorous relationship. It was a lot to take in and apparently he has tried to talk to the boys about his sexuality a couple of times but our older son put in his earbuds and so my ex stopped. (I'm angry that he didn't let me know that he was telling our kids anything about any of this in advance - I think that they need support and that we should agree on an approach together, he thinks that I'm homophobic.)

But anyway, I think our son knows something and maybe resents his dad for not being honest? Or for being different (though he's a very open-hearted kid in general)? Or maybe it has nothing to do with my ex's sexuality?

Okay, long story short (too late) .... what are some ways I can try to convince my son to go to family therapy to try to get to the root of his anger towards his dad and hopefully start to repair their relationship? If he ultimately refuses to go to see his dad, what do I do? Any advice you have would be great ... I'm just at my wit's end.

rockscan 11-30-2017 02:10 PM

Hes 14 which is a difficult age. You may need to let him be angry for a while and work through it. You can keep suggesting and talking with him but overkill may make him resent you. Maybe just leave it for a bit and suggest some ideas. Is he spending any time over the holidays with dad? Perhaps suggest a neutral activity that the three of them can participate in together that is short and in a public place.

kate331 11-30-2017 04:32 PM

I was thinking the same thing, with teenagers their life revolves around themselves and feel nobody else matters including their parents. Could it be the rules are stricter at Dad's re screen time, curfews etc. Does Dad live close enough that your sons friends come around?

Trying to get a 14 year old boy into therapy might be an uphill battle.

tree 11-30-2017 04:43 PM

Thanks for the replies ...

His dad lives right around the corner. It's such a tough age and I'm really concerned about the amount of anger he's displaying. Especially concerned about his refusal to speak to his dad. It's been a few months now and he only speaks to his dad if he has to. I'm told he eats in his room and ignores his dad and his brother. It's hard because I don't see any of this behaviour and I'm not sure how much to insert myself into their relationship. Argh. Kids are hard.

rockscan 11-30-2017 04:49 PM

Help encouraging our son to see his dad?
A friend is having issues with her 15yo hating his dad and not speaking to him. She just keeps encouraging and leaving it to him.

Youre not denying your ex time which is a good thing. Your son will move past whatever he has going on. You may also want to reach out to his guidance counselor at school to see if there are other concerns and if they might be able to encourage a therapist too.

Teens are nightmares sometimes. I look back at the teenage me and think “what an asshole” on a regular basis [emoji28]

tree 11-30-2017 04:54 PM


Originally Posted by rockscan (Post 225654)
Teens are nightmares sometimes. I look back at the teenage me and think “what an asshole” on a regular basis [emoji28]

Isn't that the truth!!

Thanks for sharing your friends' experience. I have no interest in ever denying access. He's their dad and we both really want to live up to what we told our kids when we split: we are still a family. It breaks my heart to see him so angry and in so much pain and not know how to fix it.

Ange71727 11-30-2017 10:31 PM

I spend my whole day with kids close to this age and can tell you that they certainly aren't rational creatures. I would say that you need to be gentle and supportive and tell him that you're there if he ever needs to talk, but not push the situation. He's stressed for whatever reason at his dad's and might be more willing to open up to you if he felt you weren't pushing him (whether you really are or not). Hopefully he just needs some time. It's good that he is still going to see his dad, even if it isn't quality time at the moment.

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arabian 11-30-2017 11:43 PM

Kid is upset that the magical family life that he knew is no longer.

This is a difficult time. Perhaps you can find it within yourself to talk to his father about problems son is going through? Yes you might have a lot of blow-back and resistance from the father but nevertheless I'd try to get him on-side with you. Once you do this then you and your ex could maybe conjure up a coordinated effort to get the two back together? You have to put kid's well-being before your hate/dislike for the father... suck it up a bit?

In all human psychology stuff I've read (yeah and even the odd parenting magazine) I've gathered that it is valuable to get someone to do something they don't want to do by somehow getting them to "buy into" the idea... let them think it was their idea. So you should try to think about how you could get the kid (or the father) to think they have the solution to resolve the current rift. This approach is usually much more successful than out-and-out intervention, particularly when dealing with two pig-headed individuals.

That's my 2 bits.

paris 12-01-2017 08:41 PM

Kids at 14 often don't want to spend time with either parent in an intact family dynamic.

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