Father’s Day is coming up and I know my husband would love nothing more than to spend the day with all three of his children, but he has not seen his oldest 13 year old son (from a previous marriage) in almost two years after a disagreement with his mother. I am considering contacting his mother to arrange for him to come for a visit for Father’s Day. They have no relationship right now and I am wondering if it is ever too late to mend a relationship. Would love your thoughts on this.
Two years to grown ups goes by fast, but two years to a child feels like a lifetime. All the more reason why now is the perfect time to start mending one of the most important relationships this boy will ever have.
Depending on what caused the damage, it is never too late to repair the damage that has been done, especially at the age of 13. Teenage years are a critical time of continuous change and development. It’s the time when children start looking at themselves as individuals and start separating from their families as they try on new personas and relationships. They begin to turn to their friends more as a source for connectedness, but they still need and want their parents’ approval, no matter what their actions or words say.
Their vision of self is largely based on how they think others view them. For example, if they are consistently told they are a great athlete, they will see themselves as a great athlete. If they are told they are terrible at math, they will think they are math skill deficient. When their parent is involved and shows interest in their life, it increases their sense of self worth. If their parent is absent in their life, it feels like they are being told they are not worthwhile to be around. They will more likely feel a gap in connectedness and spend time trying to fill the void they can’t understand. Children crave that bond with their parents. And often when they say they don’t, it’s out of self protection to not let their guard down and show their perceived weakness and vulnerability. We all want to be loved and cared for, its just how it is.
I, of course, am generalizing, and there are ALWAYS exceptions, but its typical human nature to desire these connections, at any age.
As for your situation, I am excited at the prospect of you re-connecting a father and his son to start filling the void for both of them in the most loving and natural way. It may not happen in fairy tale fashion, but the attempt is step one in mending the relationship. It will take time to rebuild what’s been damaged and create a missing trust, but with time, consistency and patience, it will undoubtedly be worthwhile for them both.