4 year old with reasoning issues

Leigh - posted on 01/31/2013 ( 1 mom has responded )

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Hey Ladies I have a 4 year old boy and a 1 year old girl, i have divorced almost a year and need some advice. My ex was a real piece of work and still to this day promises my son everything but never fallows through and my fiance now is having issues with my son listening to him hi has been in the picture for a while now even while i was married becuase we were friends at the time, My son seems to try to push both our buttons right now and cries all the time over noithing, we have sat him down to try to get to the bottom of this becuase it has gone on for a few months of my son not listening and you ask him a simple question and he starts crying, he is not aggresive just seems to act more like his little sister then anything, He seems to be very intimidated by my fiance and wont ask him anything , not sure if its becuase his real dad was never around or what, but it is very frustrating nd i have no idea what to do about it anymore im at a wits end. My son just seems to be stuck on the promises my ex husband has put in his head and he forgets that the real man in his life right now isnt going to back out of his promises

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Denikka - posted on 01/31/2013

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He's 4, he's been through a HUGE upheaval in his life, and you're asking a question using the word *reason*.
There is no *reason* in this situation. No matter how you explain things to him, none of this makes sense to your son. He has had his entire life stripped from him. He's running on a completely irrational and emotional response.
It's quite possible that he feels like if he listens to, likes, or has any positive or parental feelings towards this new man, it's a betrayal of his father. He probably feels like he only has to see the good in his dad, believe his dad, because anything less is a betrayal.
He probably blames you, to some extent, for this happening. No matter what the facts are. As his mom, you are the soft place for him to go to, to protect him from the world`s ugly side. Instead, you *let* his dad leave, you *let* the bad things happen. And then, you went and *replaced* his dad with this other guy.
He probably also blames himself. In some way, if he had done something different, been better, behaved better, whatever, dad wouldn`t be gone now.

And as I mentioned, not only has he recently gone through the upheaval with his dad leaving, now he`s got this guy who he has to completely switch roles with. Before it was *friend* or *mom`s friend*, now it`s *parental figure* and, even if your fiance acted in exactly the same way as he did before, it`s still completely different.

It doesn`t make sense. It`s not rational. He`s 4. But those are the kinds of things that are going through his head. He may not even know it, or be able to make sense of it. He`s very confused. He`s frustrated. He`s hurting. He`s scared. Not only has his life changed, his perception has too. Any kind of control he thought he had, he has now been shown that that control is only an illusion and doesn`t really matter. So what if he gets to choose which shirt to wear. He doesn`t get to choose if his dad stays or leaves.
He`s struggling to sort out his world right now. Be patient with him.
Talk to him. Not once or twice, but keep talking. Let him talk about his dad. Give him words to help describe his feelings. Lead a conversation for him to open up. Ask things like *So, you really miss your dad huh*. Don`t ignore his dad, make him more of a part of his life now than he was before. You`re now a 3 part parental team.

And get your fiance to talk to your son. Without you there. Make it a boys day, Reassure your son that he`s not there to replace his dad. Let him know that he`d like to start out as friends at least and then, maybe one day, if your son wants him to, he can be kind of like a second dad. Let him know that friends look after other friends, so he`s still got to make sure that your son follows the rules, eats his veggies, and all that. But your son doesn`t have to love him or call him dad, or anything like that.

Other than that, it`s just going to take time.

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