Questions in the Parenting Forum are being answered by doctors from MindWorks. Topics include: Behavioral Issues - Discipline, Emotional Development, Family Issues, Recreation, School Issues, Social Development
effect of separation and new sibling on 5yr old boy
My husband left me and our 5yr old boy in October last year. In february this year I gave birth to our second child - a girl. My son is stuggling with this difficult scenario...feeling that he won't see his daddy because he's getting older....I don't have a daddy anymore...he does see his dad every other weekend at present. I do try to talk about things with him but am aware that I don't want to plant any seeds that aren't already there. Due to the extent of betrayal throughout pregnancy and on-going hurt being caused by his father I find it hard to talk things through without getting upset myself, and I feel that my son recognises this and doesn't want to open out to me. I don't think he has the words to express how he is feeling. Compounding this is the arrival of new baby (which does actaully seem a positive thing to him) meaning that I have less time to focus on him, what he needs and how to help him. His behaviour is deteriorating significantly of late and his anger significantly increasing.
I need advice on how to focus in on the most important issues to help him through this really difficult time as he is also due to start school in august. I'm also trying to decipher what may be symptomatic of a 5 year old boy anyway or of the arrival of new sibling in normal circumstances
sounds like a very rough time for everyone. Answering children's questions about divorce is never easy, and you have it particularly tough given the circumstances and your son's age. Five year olds come up with many explanations to explain what has happened to them, generally centered around the divorce being their own fault. If you can obtain psychotherapy for yourself and your son, I strongly recommend it. Your son is telling you about his sadness and intense feelings, so he's letting you know he needs some help. If your ex spouse is a trustworthy, reliable parent, it would be great if he spend more time with your son. Every other weekend is unfortunately typical for dads, but that long a time between seeing each other places huge stress on the parent-child relationship.
If you are not in a position to seek therapy, I recommend two books: Difficult Questions Kids Ask and Are Afraid to Ask About Divorce by Meg F. Schneider and Joan Zuckerberg and Siblings without Rivalry by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish
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