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Teach Their Parents
and Daniel were both 9 years old. Both lived with their respective mothers. Both
had time together with their fathers although Danielís time with his father
was more irregular.
mother met Andyís father. They courted for several years during which time the
boys got to know each other. They got along well as friends. Finally, Danielís
mother and Andyís father moved in together. Now Daniel was spending more time
with Andyís father than was Andy. Andyís behaviour at school began to
deteriorate. He had more conflict with his own mother and at times ran away.
parents agreed he needed counselling. They also agreed to come in to meet with
the counselor prior to Andyís appointment. Both parents impressed the
counselor as reasonable and well intentioned. However, the relationship between
them was somewhat prickly. Fatherís change in living arrangement was causing
disruption like a ripple effect and was certainly unasked for by Andy or his
mother. The status quo had been altered. Andyís father was being blamed.
meeting with Andy, he discussed how it grossed him out hearing Daniel
refer to his father as Dad. Andy admitted he felt he was losing his
relationship with his father to Daniel. His behaviour was designed to undermine
his relationship with his mother so she would send him to his fatherís home
and thus Andy would reassert his relationship in view of Daniel.
counselor discussed with Andy, Danielís feelings in the circumstance. Daniel
didnít see his father as regularly as Andy. Daniel likely felt awkward when in
public with his mother and Andyís dad, not knowing how to address him at
times. Daniel may have felt disrespectful addressing an adult by first name, yet
awkward calling him dad too. Andy agreed to a meeting between he and
Daniel to chat about both their feelings. The parents agreed for the children to
meet with the counselor for this purpose.
support from the counselor, Daniel expressed how he felt jealous of Andyís
relationship with his father, even though, he sees him more than Andy. Daniel
also expressed embarrassment when in public feeling awkward calling Andyís
father ďDadĒ or by his proper name, something he felt was disrespectful. The
counselorís impressions of Daniel had been supported by his report.
Danielís feeling directly had an impact on Andy. Andy, a compassionate lad,
expressed his regret to Daniel for his less than satisfying relationship with
his own father. Further, the boys discussed their mutual awkwardness and upset
feelings for the situation in which they found themselves. Neither blamed the
other for anything. They just dealt with the issues at hand.
Andy offered to Daniel that he could call his father Dad when in public.
He asked that he not do it around the house when he is there though. Daniel
agreed and thanked Andy for his permission. Thus boys were OK with each other.
the boys reached a resolution, Andy was still not fully satisfied. He expressed
a desire to have more time with his father. Meeting thereafter with the parents,
Andyís mother and father agreed to extend the weekend time with father from
Sunday evening to Monday morning at which time the father would return Andy to
school. Andy was delighted with the news. The counselor was delighted with the
reasonableness of the parents.
goes on and things change. This is inevitable. No one is really to blame. This
is life. Crises develop as a result of resistance to change though. Facilitate
change and crises subside.
The stepbrothers got it together. They negotiated the terms of their relationships. Interestingly, they were a good role model for the parents whose adaptation followed theirs.
Direnfeld, MSW, RSW
For information on Direnfeld's book, Raising Kids Without Raising Cane, click here.
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