aibu to not let my ds have contact with his father?(9 Posts)
My ds is 14 and has not had contact with his father or family for 2 years(his own choice),when the contact was happening(regular since ds was 3)it was fraught with difficulties due to ds's dads criminal,violent and addictive behaviour and ds had counselling because of everything he went through.
Ds has recently started testing the boundries and has been grounded several times,his behaviour is ok but i can see he could potentially go off the rails if not kept in check.
He recently started saying he wants to resume contact with his fathers family,i believe because he has develped a rose tinted view of them and alos because he knows there will be no boundries.
He has also been secretly contacting them online,i'm really upset by this and have explained to ds that contact would be in no way in his best interests and i'm not agreeable for this at this point in his life.
My question is what can i do to stop this and aibu?
YABU - whatever his dad is, his dad is his dad and you cannot stand in the way of that relationship (even if you are doing it to protect DS).
You have to support your DS and be there when his dad lets him down...
Do you have the right to stop someone from having contact with their father and extended family?
I would say only when such contact would be a danger to them.
If you feel that this is the case, then YANBU.
However, in choosing this course of action, you have to think of several things because you will have to deal with them.
Consider how he will feel about you if he comes to feel that you kept his dad out of his life (even if your reasons were good)
Consider that he will be an adult in only a few years and you will have no control at all, no matter how bad his father and family are.
Consider that since you cannot, long term, stop him, is it best to stop him while you can, or allow contact on your terms and with your support and guidance?
Is there any support, advice or additional counselling available for you and him?
YABU. I completely understand why you would want to keep your ds away from is Dad and family, but there is no way that you can ever win this battle with a 14 year old.
He is old enough that he will do what he wants and you forbidding something will only make it more desireable. He has already shown he can do things behind your back, and that has the potential to get worse. You need to be keeping the lines of communication with him as open as possible. Tell him exactly why you are concerned, but tell him you will support him with whatever he decides to do. He needs to be given some responsiblity for this, because otherwise he will just be in contact anyway. And if anything goes wrong, he will feel he can't tell you about it or ask for help.
Be very careful - forbidden fruit and all that .
The more you stop him, the more likely he (or at least most stroppy teenagers) will be curious and want to find out more.
If you ban him completely you may find him walking out and going to live with his dad and wider family, and at 14 or older you would not be able to stop him.
The softly, softly approach as far as they are concerned might by much better - explain your concerns and hope that he will be able to see through them if/when he does see them.
It is a difficult position to be in, but your first priority should be to not make things worse (i.e. drive him straight to them).
You mentioned you thought he had a rose tinted view of his father. this could well continue while he does not see him.
Do you think that maybe the reality would actually be more beneficial than living the fantasy and him thinking you were the one in the way of his wishes?
I sympathise. You have a very good reason for not allowing your DS to see his father.
IF your DS was younger, I'd say you'd be right to prevent contact. It is a parental responsibility to keep your child safe from harm, and harm is exactly what your DS's father represents "criminal, violent and addictive".
However, given your DSs age I just don't think this is a battle you can win. He's old enough to rebel and think he knows better and with some legitimate grounds (it is natural for him to want to know about the other 50% of his inheritance), but he's also too immature to know the way of the world and see just where this could lead him.
I think your best bet is to try very hard to show your DS objective examples of the consequences of getting caught up in this sort of behaviour/family - i.e. drug abuse, criminal record. Maybe you could try some films or books as well as pointing out RL examples. Also work on making clear, short statements about exactly what is wrong with this sort of behaviour (i.e. no vague 'drug taking/drinking is bad' type arguments, but proper reasons like contributing to organised crime and long-term MH problems in the case of drugs, anti-social behaviour, impotence and infertility etc in the case of alcohol, reduced employment/financial potential in the case of a criminal record, etc).
Beyond that, I think you have to allow your DS to explore that side of his family, otherwise he'll simply keep doing it in secret. Hopefully, with your moral code instilled in him and your influence on his analytical/psychology skills, he'll see their behaviour for what it is.
The tricky bit will be doing this and keeping him safe, while also not making him believe that he has to be somehow ashamed of the other 50% of his make-up. Never lose an opportunity to point out what is wrong with your DS's father's behaviour, but also always try to point out positive things about him too (e.g. good at maths, played a musical instrument, clever at fixing cars, good at getting people to like him, etc). Give your DS the impression that the genes he's taken on (the things he's got no choice over) are good, but the bad behaviour is optional and he does have a choice about those.
Thanks sunshineandbooks,thats really helpful.
I'm going to sit down and have a chat with ds tonight when he gets in.
You run the risk of turning his Dad into some sort of 'absent hero'
Also, some teenagers have enough angst and things to blame their parents for. Don't give him the ammo to start hating you (or convincing himself he does) because you won't let him see his Dad.
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