He wants to be with his dad….

by Rod Smith

“I am recently divorced and left my marital home with my son (4). The ex still lives in our marital home. He and his girlfriend (the reason for the divorce) and her kids spend most of their time at this house and so does my son. My son is acting out and wants us to go back home. It’s so difficult for me to make him understand we can’t go back. I love this child who is my absolute life but he seems to want to be with his dad rather than me. This hurts so much. I don’t know if I can cope much longer with him always crying for his dad. He cries for me when he’s with his dad and cries for his dad when he’s with me. He’s also turning into quite a manipulator like telling me that he won’t have breakfast if I don’t take him to his dad. Please help.”



Your son is trying his best to “communicate” how he is feeling… unfortunately, divorce is not something he will understand until he is older. You and his father must come to an agreement about how to put his needs first.



Expect such behavior. This is difficult for you to grasp yet you want a four-year-old to get it! Increase your capacity to tolerate his pain while decreasing your dependence on his love. The boy wants to go home – don’t make it about preference of one parent over another.

ACT, Australia

ACT, Australia

Your four-year-old is extremely distressed because of the divorce. His behavior is about what’s happening NOT because he prefers you or your husband. Really strong loving boundaries are needed for him in this painful transition.



Your son really isn’t a happy little chap, his life is insecure and unpredictable. He ‘acts out’ because he can’t ‘speak out’. You and your husband must work together to provide stability for him.

One Comment to “He wants to be with his dad….”

  1. I understand completely. This happened to me too. My son was 5. I kept re-affirming him of my love and stuck to a strict routine with regard to visitation (not without difficulty). I found that my son settled quite quickly with the routine of going to his dad every other weekend. We as parents decided that the mid-week visitation was too disruptive for him (our son) and so I would help him look forward to the time he will spend with his dad and keep telling him how much we love him. My ex would phone every Wed night at 6pm to chat and plan for their weekend. Keep trying – even though this hurts so much – you will reap the benefit. Be consistent and routine driven. I wish you all the best

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