Question: Dear Luise: My 4 year-old son is being brain washed by my ex and his new wife. When he gets in the car, he tells me that he would rather have the step mom be his mom because she loves him more than I do and I’m ugly, fat, etc. His dad is teaching him how to “fight” and we have had several instances at Day Care. He denies teaching him but does not deny that he trains for fights in front of him and makes him “play fight” with the new wife’s 10 year-old son. What can I do to counteract the violence and lies that he is being taught over there? S.
Answer: Dear S.: This situation can also happen to people who aren’t divorced. Parents don’t always agree and it isn’t an easy issue to address even in the best of circumstance.
For most kids from divorced homes, the grass is often greener at the home of the parent they see the least. “Weekenders” obviously don’t have the daily job of being the disciplinarian.
Beyond that, you may need the help of a counselor to work through the mean remarks and the Day Care behavior that is developing. I would highly recommend it.
It confuses a child when one parent tells him that the other parent is wrong. One way around it is to continually say that you look at it differently and have some other suggestions. To a 4 year-old that needs to be simplified to “Let’s try this” or “Here’s what Mommy does.” By your example your son can grow up to learn that there are other options but, as you know already, it isn’t necessarily going to be easy. Blessings, Luise