May 15, 2008,
N.C. asks from Dallas, TX on April 24, 2008
Seeking Comforting Words for Son Who Misses His Daddy
My husband and I are in the beginning stages of divorce. Dad moved out 7 months ago. My 8 year old son misses his daddy so much. It breaks my heart to see him cry after each visit with his dad. I've tried to encourage his dad to see him more often - he sees him every other weekend (Friday night to Sunday night) and has dinner with him every Thursday evening. Other than tell my son that I understand how much he misses his dad and that both Dad and Mom love him very much - I can't seem to find the right words to comfort him. I keep him busy with activities and we share lots of time together. Should I consider counseling at this age?
So What Happened?™
Thank you to all of you who responded to my request. I received some very good advice that I'll begin to implement immediately. Thanks especially to those who offered their prayers. That's huge in my life. Some of you asked if a reconciliation would be possible. I am afraid it isn't.
C.B. answers from Abilene on April 25, 2008
I divorced when my DS was 4 and would def. recommend counseling at this time. My DS had/has a lot of issuses that counseling has helped even though I didn't get him into it untill he was having problems in school. I wish I had started it a lot sooner. I have a friend who divorced when their kids were 16 & 9 and they stayed here with their dad and he won't get either of them into counseling (this happened 2 yrs ago) and they both still have problems.I know how hard it is and I'm glad his dad is visiting him that will help. Hugs to you both.
K.E. answers from Dallas on April 25, 2008
Would your husband consider getting webcams? I saw this with a family who had a dad that traveled constantly. Each night he would "check in" from his computers' webcam and the kids could see him, he could see them, it worked beautifully. I think it might work in your case. This way you can put a more postive spin on things. Possibly , Dad could "check in" right after school AND before bed. Worth a try!
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M.C. answers from Dallas on April 24, 2008
I would encourage him to call his dad whenever he needs to talk to him. Let him know that he can always seek him out even if it's not his dad's weekend for visitation. I think that is very important. I am a step mom to 3 kids and one thing we did was make sure they knew that they could come here or call whenever they needed to no questions asked. We have let them know that our home is open to them always!! There is a great book called "Moms House Dad's House" and it has wonderful ideas on how to share custody that's really best for the kids. If you're both on board with it, it can work and I think your son would do better. As far as counseling, absolutely!! 8 is not to young and there are counselors that specialize in children whose parents are going through divorce. It might help him to be able to express his feelings to someone other than mom or dad. Good luck!
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C.J. answers from Dallas on April 24, 2008
Maybe you should both consider joint custody. It sounds like your son could really use that type of living arrangements. I love the idea of having him call his dad everytime he gets the chance. Also have your ex send him letters/cards in the mail. Make sure he calls his son every night before bedtime and in the morning before school/daycare. Maybe you will see a change in your son if you ex makes more attempts to contact him.
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L.C. answers from Dallas on April 24, 2008
That is such a hard thing to go through. I went through this and my daughter is going through it now. I went to counceling when I was younger and I have taken my daughter before, it seemed to help because she and I were able to discuss our feelings without having to worry about hurting anyones feelings.
I also remember my Mom getting me my own phone line just for Dad. Dad got the number and no one else so I could talk to him whenever I wanted to and Dad could call me whenever he wanted to as well. I would do this for my daughter but she is 6 and I think that is still a bit too young, but 8 is a great age!
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C.G. answers from Dallas on April 25, 2008
This might hurt. but in the next 5 years you will have to let you son go and live with his father. He will need him more. right now it is you that he needs.
N.S. answers from Dallas on April 26, 2008
Hi, I saw your question and wanted to respond. I'm a counselor who specializes in working with children and adolescents. 8 is a great age for counseling so that might be an option that you start to look into. You may be already doing this but a transitional object that your son can take with him to visit dad may help comfort him. The manner in which the parents handle the divorce is the one of the biggest influences in how the children will respond so it's important that you and your husband aren't talking bad about each other or putting your son in the middle. I hope this was helpful. I could easily write an essay here but don't have enough space!
L.D. answers from Dallas on April 27, 2008
I recently acquired the book, The Boys' and Girls Book of Divorce. I am beginning to read it with my 10-year-old. Her dad and I divorced in 2006, but we're still dealing with his absence. You might try this book. Also, our church has a great course for single parents and their children. Try chekcing with your church.
L.F. answers from Dallas on April 25, 2008
Hello N. C -- a dear friend of mine read your story and forwarded it to me. She felt that we would easily talk as we have so much in common. We are about the same age, I'm a Realtor and I went through a divorce when my son was your son's age. Two years later, I was diagnosed with breast cancer and am now cancer free.
Divorce is a tough road at times but some advice that people gave me that always helped me keep my focus was "if the mom is okay, the kid is okay." It's hard for us moms because we worry about everything. I think you are doing a great job keeping him involved in things and giving him your attention. He also needs to see that you are happy and secure (even if at times you are scared to death) and that's where "finding the right words" is only part of it. Remember, he is watching you, loving you and learning from you all the time. I found a wonderful counselor named Kathleen Lizama ###-###-#### or ###-###-#### who was instrumental in helping both my son and I. It's been 3 years since I've been divorced and I still take my son to see her a few times a year just to chat. I guess I want them to still have a relationship in case something does come up that bothers him. He knows she's around.
Another helpful thing to do is let his teachers know what your concerns are. They can be most helpful. One thing my son does is email his dad (it helps him practice typing and spelling, too!) and of course I let him call him whenever he wants. Hopefully your husband is sensitive to his son's thoughts. It may get better with time but it sounds like you are a wonderful, caring mom. He's lucky to have you.
You mentioned he cries after every visit -- I wonder if you can start a routine for when he returns home that may help him focus on something rather than hurting by saying goodbye. I don't know what it would be but the concept is, redirecting him into a positive activity or conversation that peaks his interest. I know my son and I enjoy board games and on Sunday nights we have movie night and he's in charge of microwaving the popcorn. He gets excited to see which movie I picked out for us to see together when his dad drops him off at 6pm. Just a thought.
I'll be thinking of you and praying the road gets a bit smoother for you!