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Thursday, June 26, 2014

Who to Choose: My Son or My Boyfriend?

Dear Christina:

I am having a conflict with my boyfriend because he doesn’t like my 14-year old son. My boyfriend constantly criticizes him and insults me for babying him. He has even made snide comments and recommended I send my son to live with his father.  He doesn’t see his kids and doesn’t understand what it’s like to go through the ups and downs of parenting. My son’s dad isn’t a very healthy person as he drinks to extremes and can be very mean. Who in their right mind would subject a kid to that type of hostility on purpose? Is my boyfriend a jerk for demanding me to give up my son? Or am I the jerk?


Dear Tammy:

Some people do not take their responsibility for parenting very seriously and seem to be able to effortlessly walk away from their kids. This is a huge sign: if this guy can run away from his own flesh and blood, he can (and will) leave you in a New York minute. Don’t be fooled, jerks normally just want to get their needs met and rarely give a hoot how others feel. But your concern regards your son and you only get one shot at parenting your child. That’s it! This is not a rehearsal! I’m sure looking back it’s hard to even fathom that 14 years of your son’s life has already happened. If you abandon him now by sending him to his alcohol-abusing father, you’ll create long lasting—maybe even permanent—issues for him. Nobody promised parenting would be easy and this guy you’re dating knew you had a son before he became your boyfriend, but now he’s changing the rules in the middle of the game. Also, it’s a HUGE sign he doesn’t take care of his kids. He probably uses his ex as an excuse as it makes shirking his responsibility a no brainer. But it's not legit: if he wanted a new car or to go on a vacation, he would figure out how to make that happen, so if he wanted to see his kids he could—that’s why they have family court! Anytime someone makes you pick between your child and him there is something fundamentally wrong with the logic. Who does that? I’ll tell you…a jerk, that’s who. Now to be fair, you could ask yourself some tough questions to see if you're contributing negatively and whether you can do anything differently: Are you enabling your son to be unmotivated, disrespectful or selfish? Have you done a good job of teaching passion, self-reliance, compassion and empathy? Have you mothered him into immaturity? Your focus needs to be on raising your son and finish the job you started...he didn’t ask for his life—that was your call. The decisions have all been made for him without his input. He didn’t ask to be born or to have either of the men you selected for him to be a part of his life. Weighing out how this boyfriend contributes positively to your life will be your measuring stick. Is he a true asset or just an @$$?

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