What is the best way to ease and 11yr old boy through divorce when he has separation anxiety?

Frances - posted on 01/31/2010 ( 6 moms have responded )

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My son has problems with any massive changes. I have been trying to ease him into this but now he doesn't want to spend time overnights at his dads. I love my son, but think it is important for him to be around his father.

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Frances - posted on 02/03/2010

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I thank you all so very much. My son is definitely like yours Melanie. He says he wants to go, but then changes his mind as it gets to night time bed rituals. I am just letting him do what he wants for now. Unfortunately another change is about to happen. He needs to stop going to his grandmothers and fathers house after school. His grandmother no longer wants to care for him on my days to havehim. His father is refusing to find a sitter or to pay. So I need to find a program(whish I think is better anyway). I am trying to get him into the YMCA, but not sure how he will handle that. Another huge change in such a short span of time will just make him more anxious. I do not have any other options and feel so bad for him. When I put myself in his shoes, it must feel like everything is so different and uncomfortable and it must feel like no one really wants to be around him. In fact, it is otherwise. I wish I could spend more time with him! I will have to take a second job to be able to afford this new life (so that will be another monkey wrench and change for him to deal with). Any advice is very helpful.

Melanie - posted on 01/31/2010

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my son was exactly 11 when his father and i went through our divorce. He has been diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder which is on the autism spectrum, so any form of change, little or small, he hates. The main problem we had was him changing his mind constantly about where he wanted to be, either with me or his dad. What we did was give him time. He stayed with me for quite some time and them decided that he wanted to spend time with his Daddy. After about a week, he came back home to me and he stayed. He just had to get used to the idea of us being apart.

Kekua - posted on 01/31/2010

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I would say don't make him go. Talk to his dad about compromising. I'm sure he doesn't want his own son to think of his house as "ugh that place I have to sleep at" so maybe you guys could work around just having daytime visits for a while until he gets more comfortable at his dad's new place and feels ok with sleeping over there.
I don't think there's anything unusual about the way he feels. At his age some kids still aren't even ready for sleepovers with their best friends, you know? He just needs some time, I think.

Frances - posted on 01/31/2010

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Hi Heather

Thanks for the input.

I am not sure what is going on over at his dads/grandmothers. He has new rules for homework which finally are working to his advantage at home, along with routine and responsibility when he stays with me. I have spoken to his father and emailed all the things I do and requested to follow along so that he finally has a uniform set of rules. We all met with the teacher and the principal and were given these sets of rules to help with his schoolwork and to provide a foundation for responsibility. We both damian and I talk all the time about things over there, but he just says he doesn't like it over there, that it is boring and he likes the comfort of his home (my place). Recently redecorated apartment. He now has a bedroom he helped to decorate and likes it. Just has a hard time settling into it at night, because it is so different. (Did I mention, change is hard on him)? It has taken me two weeks steady to work on him sleeping in it by himself but he really likes it. I am not sure if he is worried about me being alone vs his father having his parents there and a dog or if he just really likes the apartment better than spending time with his father.

Heather - posted on 01/31/2010

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When I got divorced 5 yrs ago, they made me and my ex attend a parenting of divorce children class (it must be a county thing, b/c there were a lot people). They recommended some books geared for kids; I bet your local library has some. Are there any indicators about why your son doesn't want to go to his dad's (ie: abuse, not being paid attention to)? He may be nervous about the different rules/routines too. My daughter and I talk about the things that are different at Daddy's but always end on what's the same (both have a backyard, WE BOTH LOVE YOU). I agree with Betty, call your son at his dad's before bed time and chat for a few minutes. Maybe your ex could call him a day or two before the overnight and talk about the fun they will have and how excited he is to see his son.

Betty - posted on 01/31/2010

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i've been through this ,,you just have to keep telling him that you will be there when he comes home and that he can call anytime he needs to talk while he at his dads. it will be hard but hes probrably afraid you want be there when he comes back. i wish you the best

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