Home Family How do I handle visit from my ex to our young son?

How do I handle visit from my ex to our young son?

by Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

My son is 3,5 years old, his father is coming to visit him after 2 years, I’m not sure how to act
When I met my ex-husband everything seemed perfect, very soon our son was born and he seemed as he is a perfect husband and father. In the meanwhile we moved to another country, we lived there for 6 months, and after that me and my son came back to our native country. Reason was that I was pregnant again and ex husband didn’t want the baby. We are divorced and he married another woman. He didn’t come to Serbia since we came back and now he is coming to visit our son. First year of our separation two of them ‘talked’ through Skype, then I realized that it is not very good for my son to have that kind of a relationship with his father (it seemed like he is getting attached to a cartoon character) so I ended that way of communication between them, advising my ex-husband to call our son on the phone any time he wants. He didn’t call at all.
Recently he send me a mail saying that he is coming to visit our son, he is staying for two weeks, and he want’s to spend as much time with him as possible including sleepovers.
I’m not sure how is my son going to react, and I am really concerned what consequences will this bring to him.
I would like to the best for my sons sake, so I’m asking you to help me, advise me how often is the best for two of them to see each other during those two weeks. Should I be there for my son first time they see each other, or every time they see each other..
My son is going to be almost 4 years old when this visit is going to happen, and I have no clue if his is father going to visit him ever again.

Thank you very much in advance for any advice

There isn’t a simple answer to your question. You didn’t mention your other child who will also be affected by this visit. Your ex-husband may not have wanted the baby but he is still the father. Your ex doesn’t seem to be thinking very clearly about the children’s needs. To them, he is a perfect stranger. They are not likely to respond warmly to him at first – which he may take as rejection. If his father doesn’t intend to keep up regular contact, your son is likely to be the one to feel rejected for yet a second time. Meanwhile, the younger child will have to live with his father’s lack of interest from the start.

I don’t think you have enough of the information you need to make decisions. I suggest that you have several conversations on the phone with this man to try to find out why he wants to visit now and what his intentions are for a relationship in the future. Do talk to a lawyer about whether he has any legal right to see the children. Make certain you feel that the children are going to be safe with him, both physically and emotionally. By all means, stay with your son during the visits until you are sure that your ex has his best interests in mind and that he knows how to care for a four-year-old. You also need to know in advance whether the new wife is coming and what they think your children’s relationship with her should be. Once you have more information, I think you will be able to decide how to handle the situation. If not, do consider talking to a family or child therapist. A professional in your own country and culture is better able than I am to advise you in a matter that has potentially important consequences for all of you.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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