When Moving On Is Hard To Do

Dear Sara,

I wanted your advice about my situation of feeling all alone and don’t know how to move on. I was married to my now ex-husband for ten years. He all of a sudden started seeing a co-worker nine years younger than him and married also. He told me on a Friday that he was leaving on Sunday. This devastated me. He had been a stepdad to both my children since they were four and eleven. He didn’t even tell my son bye.

I had lost my parents five weeks apart unexpectedly just three years before this happened. We have been divorced since December 2017. There was no closure and I don’t know why he left us and it’s like I can’t get past the hurt and have no interest in leaving the house or doing anything. Any advice on how to move on? I don’t have any friends that I talk to because I invested all my time with my family.

Life has come to a stop for me it seems like. Please tell me how you just stop loving someone you have been with for twelve years. Any good advice on how to make the pain stop. It has affected my son who is now seventeen tremendously and he blames me for the divorce. He says I make him leave when I stood by this man through all him mental and anger issues. Any good advice on how to make the pain stop and feeling like I have no one in the world to turn to? I would appreciate any advice you might have for me. I would like my name to be anonymous, please.
Thank you.

Dear Anon,

You have been living with this pain for three years. I this man truly worth this? You said you put up with his mental and anger issues so must not have been that perfect. Sounds like this guy did you a big favor. He left your life in a really hurtful way but it may be something that needed to happen. It’s sad that your son is so attached to him but maybe he will eventually see that it isn’t your fault.
I know personally how devastating it is to lose your parents in a short period of time. You have my deepest sympathy.

All you can do is pick up the pieces and go on. Take care of yourself physically and mentally. It sounds like you are depressed. If you can’t get over this by yourself you might want to see someone at your local mental health center.

In order to put your life back together, you need a plan. Write down any and everything you can think of an see what comes to your mind. Maybe you can see where your life needs to be.

Good luck.

How Do I Get Through To My Daughter?

Dear Sara,

My sixteen-year-old daughter will confide in me from time to time and when I try to help her solve whatever problem she has she rejects any advice I give her. I want to help but I feel frustrated. How do I handle this?

Dear Michelle,

What you need here is to be a good listener. Apparently, she just needs a sounding board and someone who cares about her problems. Try not to be judgemental and if she comes up with a good solution be sure and let her know that you approve of her decision. Your daughter needs your approval but she also needs to practice her own problem-solving skills.

Teen years are a time for kids to learn to think for themselves. They are forming their own identities and are working on gaining independence. If you want your daughter to continue confiding in you then it’s important that you keep her confidence. Once you share her problems with someone else, she will no longer feel safe in sharing her problems with you. If your daughter is coming to you to share her problems, this is a sign that you have a good relationship with her.

Pregnant Girlfriend Doesn’t Want To Get Married

Dear Sara,

I am nineteen years old and have a job and my girlfriend is eighteen. She is pregnant and refuses to marry me. She said she can raise the baby by herself and doesn’t love me enough to get married. I think the baby needs two parents. How can I get her to listen to reason?

Dear Cal,

Your girlfriend has apparently made up her mind. Right now your job is to be there for her and that baby. If she’ll agree, take her to her doctor’s appointments and be there if she needs anything. Let her know that you want to be there when the baby is born. If you can manage, take some time off to help her after the baby is born if she needs you. Even if you’re not married, you can be in this baby’s life if you show up when you are needed. Just do the best you can.

Son’s New Girlfriend

Dear Sara,

My son is fourteen years old and has a girlfriend. She calls him all of the time and wants him to meet her. She won’t leave him alone. If I answer the phone I tell her he’s not here. I don’t know what to do to discourage this little vixen. Any suggestions?

Dear Meredith,

Your son seems fairly passive in all this drama. At fourteen he is probably interested in girls but mostly from a distance. The fact that this young lady is pursuing him could well be a turn-off to him. Kids this age get infatuated often but it usually doesn’t last long. Since they need transportation it will be difficult for them to get together. I wouldn’t be surprised if this little case of puppy love will be over soon. If you try to interfere you may make it seem more important than it is. Just be patient and wait for the break-up.

Seperation And Children

Dear Sara,

I have been in a relationship with the same man for five years. He is divorced and has two little girls ages six and eight. We spend most weekends as a family and I love these two girls like I am their Mom.The problem is I no longer love their father. When he drinks too much he gets really disgusting and I can’t deal with it. I have separated from him but it’s difficult because of the way I feel about the girls. If I want to see them I have to deal with their father. I’m not their mother so I have no right to see them. What should I do?

Dear Kelly,

If you want to visit these girls then you either have to deal with their father or find a friend who could act as an intermediary. This is probably going to be really hard for both you and the girls. You don’t want them to think you have abandoned them so keep trying to see them from time to time. They need to know that you care about them but it’s going to be really difficult if their father won’t cooperate. I hope you will find someone that you love and can have your own children. Sounds like you would make a great Mom.

Child Won’t Stop Misbehaving

Dear Sara,

I have a four year old son who I can hardly stand. I know this is a terrible thing to say but he does everything he can to make my life miserable. He has plugged up the toilet so it overflowed, he put cooking oil on the rug and has taken permanent markers to draw on the wall. He sasses me and runs around the house so I can’t punish him. I don’t feel like I can deal with his behavior much longer. I don’t have much of a support system so I am dealing with this on my own. I need help but where can I turn?

Dear Stephanie,

Maybe the first thing to do is to have your son evaluated by a child psychologist to see if his behavior is different from what you might expect from a normal four-year-old. If he has problems then you will need some expert help. If he is hyperactive or has Attention Deficit Disorder then he may need to be on medication.

It may be that he has found ways to get your attention and this is what he wants and needs. He may feel your lack of caring about him and is acting out to get your attention. Why don’t you try giving him some positive attention by reading to him or playing some game that he likes?

If you feel like you might hurt him, please call Child Protective Services. It would be better ask for help now than get reported for hurting your son.

Daughter Hates School

Dear Sara,

I am having a problem getting my eight-year-old daughter to go to school. She says she is sick but doesn’t have a fever or sign of illness. Often she will say she has a headache. What can I do to get her to go to school? She is missing two to three days a week.

Dear Misty,

I would recommend a visit to your pediatrician. Tell your doctor that you are having problems getting her to go to school and that you need some reassurance that she is well enough. You might also want to have her eyes checked out as well just to make sure she isn’t having headaches due to eye strain. If everything checks out then you will want to be firm with her. Give her an opportunity to talk about the reasons for not going to school and let her know that you empathize with her feelings but she still has to go to school. Usually, a child will want to stay home because there is some reward or benefit involved or something negative to be avoided. You might want to turn this around by making school more rewarding and staying home less comfortable.

Make sure that there is nothing going on at school like bullying. It’s important that she feels safe there. If your daughter stays home from school then the TV and games or other entertainment could be banned. Think of a special treat for school attendance. At this age, a star chart might work. If she gets a daily star for attendance then she will get something she wants at the end of the week. When she gets home in the afternoon encourage her to talk about her day in school and emphasize the positives that she tells you about. It could take some time but if you are consistent your daughter will eventually adjust.

Pushing Boys Into Sports

Dear Sara,

I have two boys ages seven and nine. My husband played lots of sports as he was growing up and he follows sports religiously on TV. He thinks his boys should be just like him and makes sure they are signed up for whatever is available. They are not at all enthusiastic about sports but go along so that they can have their Dad’s praise and attention. How can I get him to see that this is not what they want?

Dear Leah,

Even if your sons are not particularly interested in sports, this is a good way to occupy their time. So many kids either sit in front of the TV or look for things to get into. Your husband is willing to spend his time getting the boys into something that he loves and even if the boys are not really interested they are getting a lot of attention from their Dad which is really important. This is a good situation. Support it.

How To Support Daughter’s Biracial Relationship

Dear Sara,

My daughter is eighteen and a senior in high school. She has been dating since she was sixteen and has had several different boyfriends over the years. Her latest is an African American boy who is in several classes with her at school. He is smart and in the National Honor Society. I don’t have any problem with this but there are plenty of my relatives who will. I tried to explain what problems she will run into but she said she really didn’t care how anyone else feels about her relationship. I want my daughter to be happy and not faced with constant challenges. How can I help her?

The best way to help your daughter is to stand up for her and her choices when someone makes negative comments. She is obviously happy in her relationship and other peoples’ opinions don’t really matter to her. At her age, she is capable of making her own decisions. In this day and age, there is a lot less negativity regarding mixed-race relationships. This may or may not be a permanent relationship but whatever she decides your support will be really important to her.

A Mom At 18

Dear Sara,

I am eighteen years old and have a six-month-old baby. I got pregnant in high school and married right after graduation. My husband and I rent a house and are very happy. My problem is my mother. She still sees me as a child. She comes over every morning. I am just barely out of bed. The baby goes to bed late and so I sleep until she wakes up. My Mom thinks she has to dishes, clean the house and take care of my baby. How can I get my Mom to let me run my own life?

Dear Jamie,

It feels like your Mom doesn’t have much confidence in your ability to take care of yourself. Up until now have you been really dependent on her? Getting married and having a baby is a really big step for you and your Mom may still see you as a child. You may have to have a plan to make your Mom see you as a competent grown-up. You may be tired in the mornings but maybe you could get up an hour earlier and have the dishes done, the house picked up and the baby dressed and ready for the day. This way your Mom will see that you are capable of caring for your own family.

You might also think about what your Mom has gone through. You launched into adulthood very quickly and she hasn’t had much time to adjust to the change. Let her know that you don’t need her daily visits but give her some time with you and the baby. Maybe you could consider going to visit Mom and spend time with her at her house. That way you can control how long your visit will be and how often. It’s your home and your life and it’s OK for you to be in charge of it.