Dear Dr. Archer,
I am going through a brutal divorce and my 7 year old son is the primary victim. My ex-husband tells him constantly that "Mommy left you, mommy doesn't love you and mommy wants a new family!"
We have joint custody (50- 50) and whenever he returns from his father's house I hear more of the same! I'm not seriously dating anyone and I love my son above all else. I try to be positive with him, but how can I counter such total negativity from his father?
I feel like I have no hope and that everyone hates me and takes my ex's side. I know I'm a good person but how can I counter this?
Laughter always conquers tears, positive conquers negative and most importantly love conquers hate. The worst thing you can do now is to counter attack your ex. Rather you should focus on the positive.
First, whenever you have your son you must spend every second with him. Don't fall into the trap of letting friends, family or sitters care for him when you are with him. When you have custody he's with you...100%, no excuses!
Next, plan a full, fun schedule of events for both of you together. AGAIN, he must understand that when he's with you then that means TOTAL time with you- period! Plan any dates or social occasions when yourex has custody and you're completely free from any obligation.
Finally love. You must tell him constantly how much you love him and address the ex's negativity with objectivity such as: "Sometimes mommies and daddies stop loving each other BUT I will always love you!" I have seen this scenario play out numerous times Betty and I promise you that your child is smarter than you realize and that the good/positive parent ALWAYS prevails in the end! So, stay strong and cherish every second with your son! Eventually it will work out for the best, not only for him, but for you as well. Good luck.