Dating Girl with Child
I need your advice. My son who is 21 is dating a girl for the past year who is
also 21. She has a child that is 7 years old. She does not work but is
attending a College and has her own place. We are having a hard time dealing
with this just because of the baggage he is putting himself in that comes from
this situation. He is at her place nearly every day and on weekends (he does not
stay over at her place). We expressed that we do not approve of the situation
just because he is just finishing college and we do not want him to lose focus
on where he wants to go, saving for his own home etc., that it is nothing
against her. We are just concerned he goes off path and ends up with a load of
responsibilities that he can not handle.
Since then we have not said anything more about the relationship which is
difficult but he is a young man and needs to make his own decisions, he has
never given us a bit of trouble with alcohol, drugs or anything else.
Any suggestions on how to handle this? Are we handling it in a right way?
Quite frankly, by your description, it sounds like you have raised a very decent
and caring young man. I am pleased he never gave you a bit of trouble with drugs
or alcohol, that he is finishing college and that when he does visit his
girlfriend, he doesn't stay over. I am also pleased to hear that the girlfriend
is finishing college and managing on her own. She is to be commended as a young
single mother and you would do well to consider her strengths.
Whereas you may view her situation as carrying baggage, your son likely views it
as an added bonus. He may be experiencing a joy in playing a parental role to
his girlfriend's child. It is likely that you also taught him by example, to be
caring of other's, regardless of their circumstances.
Whether or not his relationship to his girlfriend lasts, this will be his
decision and his responsibility. Assuming it does last though, this young woman
will become your daughter-in-law. Please be careful not to poison the
relationship with your negative comments or concerns to your son.
In lieu of seeking to help your son end the relationship, which may only serve
to fuel his cause, seek ways to support his efforts at college. By you backing
off from your concerns, it will help your son to concentrate on his studies and
then determine on his own, the merits of the present relationship.
In the meantime, I also applaud you for raising a responsible son.
Direnfeld, MSW, RSW
Gary Direnfeld is a social worker in private practice. Courts in Ontario,
Canada, consider Gary an expert on child development, parent-child
relations, marital and family therapy, custody and access recommendations,
social work and an expert for the purpose of giving a critique on a
Section 112 (social work) report.
Gary for your next conference and for expert opinion on family matters.
Services include counselling, mediation, assessment, assessment critiques
information on Direnfeld's book, Raising Kids Without Raising Cane,
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