** Even down to dating, hangin out with gf's or simply that my life doesnt have to ALWAYS revolve around him. Ive been a single Mom for 2 yrs. His Father was always in his life but here lately his Dad has had nothing to do with him for over 3 months. He gets so upset if I even mention about going anywhere except work. He says that another man will hurt me like his Dad. Im not talking a fit throwing temper tantrum. Im saying it really puts fear in him. He tells me that he will be the man of the house and he will even cut the neighbors grass to help with the bills, like real Dads do. He's so Humble that its sad. When I tell him that all men arent bad, he put me at a loss for words when he responded with...WELL MY DAD WASNT ALWAYS BAD... okay he has a little too much common sense for his age. PLEASE give me ideas on how to handle this with him. THANK U

asked 17 Aug '10, 20:20

Ellen's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

edited 18 Aug '10, 12:25

Emi's gravatar image



Looks like she never came back to see the answer?

(27 Aug '10, 09:10) Benjol

This is a difficult question. It sounds like you and your son have been through a lot. My suggestion would be to seek advice from a professional counsellor/therapist if you have not already. They could help you and your son work through and cope with what you and he have gone through with and help him feel secure enough to understand that it's not his responsibility to become the parent. A good therapist can also provide you with support and suggestions of how to help your son cope and maybe allow him to "let you have a life" as you say. I'm not sure what country you are from but you should be able to get a referral from your family physician.


answered 18 Aug '10, 00:59

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Tammy ♦♦
accept rate: 18%

I think Tammy s recommendation is appropriate given your current circumstances, in addition I would just like to add a couple of ideas that spring to mind after having read your question a couple of times...,

From what you say your son sounds as though he is emotionally advanced and observant for his age, (this is just my own opinion)..hence his commonsense and humbleness...

I think you could try talking a bit more about your own feelings with him, (but avoiding discussing adult problems, as kindly pointed by Tammy in her comment below) and encourage him to speak about his feelings and fears too, showing him that you are really listening by asking questions and making him see that you do really understand his concerns could help him overcome his fear.

Also at the same time you could show/tell him that you do appreciate his input, his behavior and his attitude, because he really does sound like a wise little boy.

I would definitely congratulate his maturity, and talk about the importance of friends, and encourage him to talk about his own friends too, and make plans together, not too long term, but enough ahead so that you can both have something to look forward to, together, like a movie or something along those lines. This may help shift/ease his concentration from you slightly.

I do not know whether he feels abandonment, but again if he does feel that (in the case of his dad) reassuring words coming from you could make him feel better and secure about your relationship with him

As I stated above, I am only giving you my own personal ideas on how I think you could tackle the situation.

Best of luck


answered 18 Aug '10, 12:23

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accept rate: 19%

edited 20 Aug '10, 09:38

Although I agree talking to your child is always a good idea. I would make sure that the conversation is developmentally appropriate, it's not always a good idea to share details of adult problems with children. Although Ellen's son may appear mature children who take on a parentified role often have a pseudomaturity

(18 Aug '10, 13:28) Tammy ♦♦

@Tammy Nice link. Of course what you say goes without saying. The statement sums up well what I was trying to state. "it is frequently a defense mechanism against loss of parental nurturing" I don't think Ellen should share her problems with her child, but rather try and communicate with him more. As I stated at the beginning of my answer I think your suggestion is probably better advice, but feel that Ellen could try to reach out to him a little more.

(18 Aug '10, 14:07) Emi

@Emi thanks, my intention wasn't to correct you but more to add clarification for those for whom it might not "go without saying".

(18 Aug '10, 16:53) Tammy ♦♦

+1 for getting him to talk about his feelings. It's important to acknowledge how he feels. This is a great opportunity to work on his emotional development, as painful as it is.

(18 Aug '10, 17:17) Anne

Oh, Ellen, I've seen this happen so many times with my girlfriends and their kids, and it always just breaks my heart. One of my best girlfriends ex did this to her and their daughter so often we started calling him yo-yo. (I'm lucky, or maybe my ex is, that he never tried it.)

I think Tammy is right, if it's possible I'd try to get professional counseling, hopefully you can find it for free through your son's school or at a local clinic. ('Cause I'm guessing that if he's stopped seeing your son, he's probably stopped paying his child support, if he has, I'm so sorry, it makes things so much tougher when you have to worry about how you're going to make up that money, too.)

Some things that will help with short term damage control are:

  • When he says that he doesn't want you to be hurt again, reassure him that while, yes, both you and his Dad were hurt when your relationship ended, you wouldn't change a thing, that relationship resulted in him, and it was worth it.

  • If he starts talking about being the "man of the house", gently, but very firmly tell him that you are the grown-up, it's your job to take care of the 2 of you. It's his job to be the kid. It's non-negotiable. (I've been there, it can take a little time to change their minds about this one. Just don't ever change your tune.)

  • The part about how, "His Dad didn't used to be bad". This is tough, but unless his Dad is in prison, or is abusive, you have to tell him that his Dad isn't bad. His Dad is making poor choices in his life right now, the worst being not seeing his son when he needs him so much, but that he isn't a bad person. Grown-ups make mistakes too, sometimes big ones that hurt the people we love. But it doesn't make us bad people.

Lastly, if it's possible, (and believe me, I know that in a lot of situations it really isn't possible or even remotely a good idea!) try to contact his Dad and let him know how much his behavior is hurting his son and work out a way for them to see each other.

Keep faith that regardless of what his father decides to do, you'll make sure that the two of you will turn out just fine!


answered 19 Aug '10, 16:06

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accept rate: 30%

+1 @Neen Very well said.

(19 Aug '10, 18:56) Tammy ♦♦
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Asked: 17 Aug '10, 20:20

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Last updated: 20 Aug '10, 09:38