||Subject: Single mom and fiancÚ disagree on
I am a single mother of a two-year-old boy. I have
always raised my son in the natural/attachment way. Those were my
instincts on how to truly take care of him even before I had ever heard
of this style of parenting.
About a year ago, I was engaged to a wonderful
man. He loved my son as much as I did. The most wonderful thing was that
I could watch my fiancÚ' watching my son, and see the love and pride in
his eyes. My son would be as his own. What more could a single mother
ask for! My fiancÚ was very gentle and loving and was eager to
participate in all aspects of my son's life. He was even more protective
of my son than I was! Unfortunately, we did not make it as a couple.
I am now engaged again and am wondering if I will
do the right thing. We are very in love and he says he loves my son, but
he is so different. We have totally different beliefs in childrearing.
He is constantly telling me things like: I'm too protective, when is my
son going to sleep in his own room, my son needs to act like a
"man" (i.e. be rude, dirty, dangerous, etc.). My fiancÚ was
raised by two abusive, alcoholic parents. He thinks that he was raised
tough and he turned out okay, so what's so bad about continuing (not
meaning abuse, but toughness). We have talked about how important my
values concerning my son are, and he said that all couples will disagree
because of how they were raised, and that the only way for any couple to
make it is to compromise. Compromise??? I don't want to compromise
on my son's emotional, physical, and psychological health!!!
Am I being unreasonable? Is it really hard to find
men who believe in natural parenting? We are in love, but it kills me to
see the not-so-good interaction between my son and my fiance. All I keep
thinking about is how wonderful my first fiancÚ was, and how if I found
someone like that once, I should try again. My son is the most important
thing in the world to me, and his whole health comes before me being in
love. What do you think? I desperately need your advice!
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this
letter, and hopefully replying to it! I appreciate all of your advice
that I find on this web page!!!
With warmest regards,
How difficult it must be for you to feel torn
between your feelings for this man and your love for your child.
However, I think you have answered your own question here, and perhaps
just need a gentle nudge to see it fully: "All I keep thinking
about is how wonderful my first fiance was, and how if I found someone
like that once, I should try again. My son is the most important thing
in the world to me, and his whole health comes before me being in
love." If you found someone like your first fiance once, you should
try again! Your son is the most important thing in your life! No
counselor could have put this any better. I suspect that it is the
uncertainty of the situation that is making you hesitate. Perhaps you
need to have a bit more faith in life. (Your letter reminds me of the
song from the musical South Pacific: "If you never have a
dream, how you gonna have a dream come true?")
You are not being "unreasonable" to
raise your son with love and compassion; in fact, there is nothing more reasonable
that you could be doing! Your fiancÚ, having been raised by
"abusive, alcoholic parents", will, unfortunately, find it
very difficult - if not impossible - to understand the value of a kind
of parenting that he himself never received. If you would like to
understand the dynamics of this type of inner conflict, read Alice
Miller's articles and books, especially Breaking
Down the Wall of Silence.
Though this may not be at a conscious level, it
may simply be too painful for him to explore these issues without
therapy (for himself or for the two of you together). If you decide to
stay with him, it should be only with this type of commitment on his
part; otherwise, you are headed for continued conflict on vital issues.
However, I do not have the impression from your letter that he would be
willing to make a commitment to personal therapy.
I hope this has been helpful. Give Justin a hug,
and give yourself a pat on the back for being such a loving and