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I am a single father . My son is 6 years old. Recently my child's mother and I had a falling out. She has gone to stay with her mother and rarely calls our son. From what I hear from his teachers there has been a small change in his behavior patterns. He is doing things out of character. How do I best explain a compicated situation to a 6 year old in order to keep his spirits up at a time I know is difficult for him?


Annie Fox, M. Ed. Replied: I am very sorry to hear of your troubles. I'm especially sad for your son. Whatever quarrel you and his mother may have had, doesn't concern him, and yet, he is paying a heavy price. I'm not surprised, with all that's going on, that he's doing things "out of character". He's upset. His world has been turned upside down and I'm sure he is very confused and may even feel that he has done something to cause his mother to abandon him. You need to be very mindful of his feelings. Give him every opportunity to express those feelings openly. Spend extra time with him. Take time off from work if you need to. This is a family emergency and your son's well-being needs to be a top priority. You cannot fix what's wrong, but you can LISTEN. And that will be helpful to your son. You also need to reassure him that he was not to blame for his mom leaving. Make sure that you don't say negative things about his mom and if he asks when she will return, tell him the truth of what you know (even if the answer is "I don't know.") Reassure him that you love him and that his mom loves him. Let him know that whatever happens, you will not leave him... ever. Raising a child alone is not easy, but with family and community support it can be done well. So if you have family nearby, this would be a good time to circle the wagons. Another form of support that will be important to you and your son is counseling. Your first stop should be your son's school psychologist. He or she needs to be very aware of the recent change in the family. Hopefully, the boy's mother will not remain estranged from him. When things have calmed down a bit between you and his mom, I strongly suggest that the two of you have a conversation about your son, and you can get on the same page in your dedication to this little boy. You don't have to be together as a couple to be united as parents. Your son deserves nothing less. I hope this helps and I wish you and your family well. In friendship, Annie Fox
Posted On 2005-12-29 21:29:57
Mark Viator Replied: While this may be a difficult situation for you and your son, you may be suprised how well your son will understand. The first thing that I recommend is to keep your explanation simple. Do not try to be elaborate. Keep it simple and honest. The second important thing to remember is to not place any blame. Do not degrade yourself or his mother. Let him know that you and his mom are not getting along well right now. Even though this is happening, you and her still love him very much. This reassurance is what he really needs right now. If his behavior continues to be a problem at school, take some time and talk to his teachers. Let them know that he is going through some changes at home. His teachers can be a great source of consistency and reassurance for him, also. Good Luck
Posted On 2005-12-27 07:04:13
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