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Parenting Issues This forum is for discussing any of the parenting issues involved in your divorce, including parenting of step-children.

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Old 02-21-2008, 12:18 AM
singledad99 singledad99 is offline
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Default How to handle a depressed child

OK this is not the first time and is not going to be the last one either so maybe someone can help me with how to handle this.

At first my wife used to pick up our son from my door. Then suddenly she decided to be afraid of me, obviously to support her claim that I am frustrating the access. Then she started sending a 10 years old kid of my neighbor to pick up my son. I protested that it was not safe and also my lawyer advised me to always ask for an adult for exchange. I wrote to her lawyer about it. Now she comes in front of my drive way and most of the times, I can't see her from inside. I have to go outside to make sure that she is there. Apparently, she has been telling our son to wait for her outside my house until she shows up. Well, I am not going to allow that especially in frigid temps. I told him to tell his mother to knock at the door or call to inform of her arrival. She does not want to do any of that.

Well, today she was late in picking him up. I suppose she had been waiting outside but then went back to my neighbor's house to call my home. She left a message for my son to come to the neighbor's house. I decided to walk him there instead. When he came back two hours later, he told me that mom was very mad at him for not waiting outside. She also told him that she won't be picking him up on Wednesdays because he was not waiting outside. He seemed pretty depressed and sad. I tried to talk to him but he won't open up. He showed no interest in playing or even watching his favourite tv shows. I put him to bed at around 9:30 but he could not sleep. At around 10:00 he came running and lied in my bed. He fell asleep after a few minutes from that time but I totally lost my sleep.

Has anyone been in similar situation? I don't want to remove the Wednesdays access, which is one option. I want to make it work, at least for as long as I have the custody.

Thanks in advance.
Old 02-21-2008, 06:13 AM
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Is there a possibility that you can get someone for him to talk to?
Maybe a school counsellor or a child psychologist so that he can at least express himself to someone he does not fear will stop loving him. I think he feels that he is to blame and kids have a great way of making "everything" their fault, even if it couldn't be farther from the truth. He probably does not want you to be mad at him too. Maybe he feels that this is his entire fault, if he was more obedient mom and dad wouldn't argue. If he did things differently, then mom and dad would get along, he sees everything as his fault and he is dealing the only way a minor child knows how, they internalize and blame everything on themselves. They think they need to fix things. They do not have the verbal or rational skills to decipher what is going on. You know he's not to blame, but hearing mom get upset and verbalise his lack of compliance as the reason for her not coming to see him, suddenly “everything” is his fault.

He needs a means to express himself and learn that this is not his fault and that there is no way for "him" to fix anything.
He needs real help, and to cut mom out even though she is the cause, will only further frustrate the situation, and further demonstrate to his little mind, see, I didn't do what I was told and now mom doesn't come by any more. But in reality mom did do something bad, and dad took legal action to make sure child doesn't get exposed to that again. Children cannot rationalize as well as adults even if you sat him down and try to explain that because mom said what she did he is not at fault, he'll not get it, he'll only see that mom doesn't come around or mom comes around less, and he'll, at some level, think you’re being dishonest trying to make him feel better. It's funny how kids minds work, but I think if he had a neutral party tell him also that this is in no way his fault and he can't fix it, it may make more sense to him.

Just my 2 cents
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