Your child will have many people in their life. Some will come and go: other will remain close to them throughout the years. So close in fact that it may appear that they are taking your place. And while you may feel they are intruding on your lives, you must learn to allow other people to be a part of your child’s life. The following tips will help you to cope:
Acknowledge their presence in your child’s life
In addition to knowing these people’s names, addresses, and telephone numbers you can invite them over for dinner or out during a family outing. Through conversation you will be able to find out the purpose of their relationship with each other and how they became close. The man who lives around the corner may be teaching your child how to throw some hoops. Maybe he had a childhood fantasy of becoming a ball player and enjoys getting back on the court. You may find out from your friend’s mother that your child hasn’t enjoyed your cooking and has been longing for her delicious meals. Or maybe his girlfriend is the only one who will not yell at him when he does something stupid. By observing them together you will see the qualities that make your child so special to them and vice versus.
Don’t try to make them choose
Making comments such as “well since you like Margaret’s porch chops so much more than you like mine, why you don’t eat with her every day” or “if you take your aunt’s advice over my own, I will never tell you anything else” is a way of making him choose between you and the other important people in his life. And your child may come to resent you for it. It can also cause distance in your relationship with each other.
Don’t try to outdo them
You can’t be everyone to your child and nor do they want you to be. You will have to accept your limitations. You can’t be a father figure as well as his mother. You will also find it hard becoming his friend after being a strict disciplinarian. Simply put your role has his mother is what you should be focusing on.
Your child may have begun coming home late after school. And after some investigative work, you discovered that he has been playing video games at his friend’s house. His mother should find out from you what time your child can come over and what time they have to be back at home. His girlfriend should find out from you what acceptable behavior is while she is visiting. For example, no hanging out in the bedroom with the door closed. Or maybe you need to let child’s teacher know that it is okay for them to stay after school for tutoring, but you don’t like them imposing their religious views onto them.
Accept the role you play in your child’s life
It may hurt you that your child chooses to spend the majority of his time with someone else and that they hold a special place in their heart. But you cannot accuse your child of not loving or appreciating you because he chose to buy his girlfriend a more expensive Christmas gift than you or when they want to stop by to say hi to a friend on other holidays.