My Son Doesn't Want to See Me
I have equal shared time with my kids. Last week my son told me he doesn't want to see me anymore and has cut off communications. He is staying at my former partners house. She doesn't want to encourage him to see me or have contact with me. Today I saw him in person after a medical appointment and I tried to talk to him to see how we can resolve the issues and move forward. He wasn't willing to communicate and my former partner wouldn't allow us to talk without her being there. Then she drove them off before I was finished. There was no anger, yelling or anything, just his strong reluctance to not discuss it but to have space and time. From what I have gathered the issues have built up over the last year where he doesn't believe I support him in his F2M transition and medical issues. Yet I feel quite the opposite. I think the problem comes from me talking about the medical risks of some transitioning treatments, and making mistakes with pronouns / names, and generally being concerned for safety in public toilets for example. Obviously it is hugely important to him. And its hugely important to me that he and I maintain our relationship. Yet how do I move forward with this if he refuses to talk to me? Is it the right thing to leave him alone until he has the time and space he needs and comes to me? I'm worried if I do that then I won't see him for years. Or do I send him messages in hope that eventually it helps? Or do I see a hard line and go down the legal path and see a contravention order because my partner isn't do her part to help maintain the relationship? I don't think I'll see him for Christmas either. Just needing some advice and perspective on this as I'm lost and it's very upsetting.
Welcome to the beyondblue forum.
It sounds as though you are going through a really challenging time as a parent and I can understand why you are feeling lost and upset. I really feel for you.
Your son sounds like an incredibly brave person experiencing some really complex changes in his life. Your post doesn’t say how old your son is but I’m assuming a teen. He clearly needs your love and support.
I am also a parent (certainly no expert) trying my best, just like you. For what it’s worth, here’s my take on the situation…
I think you need to accept that your son doesn’t feel he has had your support over the past year—despite your best intentions or whether he’s right or wrong about this. None of this really matters. What matters is how he feels.
He is now seeking time and space and I think you should consider respecting his wishes. I say this because if you are going to reset the relationship in future you need to demonstrate your understanding of his needs and your willingness to listen.
But you don’t just walk away. You send a text message, card or leave a voice message every so often to remind him that you love him and to show you are still there and willing to wait until he is ready to engage. No pressure from you for him to engage or respond.
You need to be prepared to be ignored. It’s going to cut. It’s going to be frustrating. It’s going to sting. But he is a hurt child and as the adult I believe you need to take the higher road.
In the meantime, I would seek professional advice from a therapist who understands F2M transition. There’s no doubt you love your son but seeking expert advice may help you to develop greater empathy and understanding for his situation. It may help you to formulate a strategy for re-engagement. It may also help you to see things more clearly from his perspective.
Like I said earlier, I’m no parenting expert. But I do know for certain that there is no more important relationship in life than the one between a parent and a child. It takes work, love and patience and there are always ups and downs. But with goodwill and intention on both sides there is always hope to get through the rough patches. You hang in there.
Kind thoughts to you
Hi EP, welcome
You've had a really great reply from Summer Rose.
A lot different but my youngest daughter at 14yo rang me out of the blue to say "I dont want to see you anymore". I can say its the most devastating words I've ever heard. She wouldnt reveal her reason but her mother, my ex wife that held resentment of me forever! was clearly an influence.
I waited and waited, when she turned 22yo she walked up my driveway. We talked, one reason why she came was that she'd heard I'd given my eldest daughter a car ($3000) and "I want $3,000 also". I told her that she wasnt around in my life for the last 8 years and no indication she would be. That my eldest had a diar need for a car to travel country to city university etc. Also "when you were 15yo I spent $15,000 on your jaw and teeth operations, I'm not a bank"
She left and went silent again and when she did contact she used only Facebook so it gave her the power to block me.
Back to your situation. Like mine I think waiting is the answer. You have no powers to combat your ex, nor her influence over your son. It might well be that your words or reactions have been taken negatively and that might be a mistake but your son is obviously in need to only accept very positive communication. I think the message here is patience.
In the meantime I would take up Summer Rose's suggestion of a therapist with no expectations your son will join you down the track, but he might well do. Seeking a therapist doesnt mean you are at fault, it simply means you might learn things you arent aware of now. I'm benefitting from a therapist some 34 years ago.
As tempting as it is, time has to go by before he could see he is over reacting. He may need to go through the transition before he can reunite with you. Keep busy, give him space.