My husband works late all week. And at the weekend, our sons (1 and 2.5 years) ignore him: when the husband begins to communicate with them, the younger one cries, the older one leaves altogether. How can he establish a closer relationship with boys? Irina, by email
There have been major changes in your family over the past two and a half years. The appearance of two young children has a significant impact on the system of relationships within the family. With the birth of a child, the distribution of roles, responsibilities, money and time usually changes, the lifestyle of the family becomes much different, the time that spouses can devote to each other is reduced. All these changes require new agreements between them. These arrangements concern, among other things, parental functions and how relations with children are seen.
You write that you would like to see your husband’s relationship with the boys closer. In what actions could this intimacy be expressed? What specific responsibilities would you like him to assume? What does your husband think about this? Relations between father and child develop differently than relations between mother and baby. In the overwhelming majority of cases, dads are much less involved in caring for a newborn, spend much less time with him and, therefore, do not receive the interaction experience that mom accumulates during pregnancy and the first months after the birth of a baby. Therefore, it is the mother who can become an excellent assistant in the art of understanding the baby.
Apparently, your husband and sons need help to navigate the new circumstances. Tell dad about the interests of the sons, about what each of them likes. Think together with your husband how you could spend time together with the four of you, and what he could do alone with his eldest son or both. Your trust in your husband and willingness to transfer part of the parental functions to him is very important, even if you know for sure that you will manage better. And with your sons in the week talk more about dad, tell them what he does, how you spend the weekend together. Together with the eldest son, you can draw a picture for dad that he will give dad on Saturday morning at breakfast.
Question to the psychologist: Son draws dad with black paint!
My son is 3 years old. I raise a child alone. The kid is sociable, friendly, although he can also show character. Father occasionally appears in life. Recently, another son was born to him. My began to ask questions: “Where is dad?” I explain that dad lives in another city. When he earns money for a ticket, he will come. Recently, my son painted me, grandmother, grandfather with bright colors, and dad painted black. It alarmed me. How to explain this?
Of course, the situation you are in is emotionally difficult for you. But in order to avoid additional difficulties in the emotional life of the baby, a number of efforts will have to be made.
First, you must openly admit that you and your ex-husband are divorced and now you can only remain parents. And this must be reported directly to the baby – in the language that is most accessible to him. He must understand that you will not be together as a couple (you did not succeed, it happens that people, as it turns out, find it difficult to spend time together, they quarrel), but he definitely has a dad and a mom. In order to declare this correctly, you must first talk with your husband.
You have to realistically perceive the situation: your ex-husband now has family circumstances that are time-consuming and distracting. Say that you understand that it is not easy for him. Let him know very clearly that you have no emotional expectations of your own with him, other than a request to establish regular and predictable communication with the boy (in which you are ready not to interfere), and your communication among yourself should only be on parental matters.
If the husband sees in you a calm, dignified and well-behaved person who sincerely cares for his son, but does not pump tantrums, his chance to establish a more consistent parental behavior will increase. Adhere to the rules of never talking badly about a husband to a son, even in a latent form. All this will help the boy to feel more confident, not to build all his own children’s explanations of what is happening, which happens when children are forced to guess everything themselves. And it’s also important for you to take care of yourself – in order to do all this, you will need positive emotions – think about where you can get them. The support of a psychologist may also be useful.