Immigrant mom separated from son

Posted by Barbara F. Meltz  January 21, 2010 06:00 AM

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Hello Barbara,

I'd like to ask your advice. My son, 12 years old, doesn't like talking with me. He lived with his grandparent. The father didn't live with my son. He lived at our old house with his girlfriend. My son visited me for two weeks once. My son always plays with his friend when he comes to see me.

My son spend time with their friend.  I feeling loss my son in my life.  My son doesn't like to talk with me on the phone or at home. He doesn't talk with me. I feel so sad. Please give me advice and help. 

I don't have a family member living in US. I am a US citizen. It is really a  hardship for me. I asked a friend from church but they always just let me read the Bible. That problem still didn't get a solution.

I looking forward to your advice.

From: Daisy, Waltham
 


 
Dear Daisy,

It's very hard to live apart from your son as you do and to maintain a relationship with him.

One idea is to find out what his interests are -- soccer, for instance -- and ask him questions about it: What's his favorite team? Who's his favorite player? Why does he like that player? The more you learn, the more you can ask him about it and share the interest. Also, that gives him a chance to be the "expert" and to teach you something. Maybe there's a TV show you both like that you can watch, or a computer game you can play together. Email is a great way to be in touch on a daily basis. Let him know you'd like to talk to him regularly and give him a way to be in control. Ask him how often can you be in touch: Once a week? Twice a week? Can you make an appointment to talk by instant message or Skype, which is free.

Establishing some regular contact will enable him to see that you mean what you say; you're sad not to know more about him and you want to make an effort to get to know him. Just keep your expectations low. Contact is a start. A real relationship will only follow after time, and once trust develops. It's possible that he resents that you are not living with him, or that he even feels you have abandoned him. That's a subject that you might want to raise at some time, but not right away.

I answer a question from a reader every weekday. If you want help with some aspect of child-rearing, just write to me here.





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4 comments so far...
  1. I have sons and here are some of the tips I have for getting them to talk to you.
    I had better luck with conversation if we were both facing in the same direction...like in the car. I also had good luck with conversations if we were doing something else at the same time...throwing a ball, raking leaves, painting a room.
    Try very hard to be a full and interesting person in your own right. Have interests and activities that you can include your son in or tell stories about.
    I would also try to find someone supportive and comforting to help you with the sadness you feel that you don't have a close relationship with your son. Reading the Bible is excellent, but speaking to other women with sons might be a big help, too.

    Posted by Scorpiorising January 21, 10 10:06 AM
  1. My 12 year old son has lived with me his entire life and he doesn't usually want to talk to me either. It's partly that he doesn't know you well but it's also partly his age. At 12, it's pretty normal for him to want to play with his friends more than he wants to talk to his mom. Scorpiorising (comment #1) makes some very good suggestions about talking when you're doing something else or riding in the car. My son is way more talkative in the car, and even more so if he's in the back seat instead of the front. And Barbara's suggestions are great too -- my son likes to show me goofy videos on YouTube, or cool apps that he's found for his iPod. He also got very talkative when we started discussing something that he's learning in school that I don't know much about. He definitely seemed to like teaching me something. Those are great ways to get a conversation started.

    Posted by DT January 21, 10 12:43 PM
  1. Hard to comment on Daisy's difficult situation without knowing more. For e.g., can she afford to travel and spend more time with him? Since she is a US citizen, would she be able to sponsor him for an immigrant visa so he can stay with her eventually (and would he like that?). Can she afford to have him here with her for a longer period of time? It is very difficult for parents who are away, but it must be even harder for the kids!
    I feel for you Daisy - but the only way to get to know him is to spend more time with him. Boys are not very good (usually) with talking on the phone.

    Posted by chins January 21, 10 12:47 PM
  1. I agree with comment #2. My son is 16 and it's hard to get him to open up to me. I have a younger daughter and she talks to me about everything. As far as your son not living with you, I would try to change that. I am the daughter of immigrant parents and live in a city with a large immigrant population. I have heard many many stories like yours. Some of them are very sad, the children grow up not knowing their parents and resenting them for leaving them behind and/or starting new families. If you're worried about day care, he's old enough to be in school and there are many afterschool programs. You've missed so much time with him, but it's never too late!

    Posted by Diane January 21, 10 04:46 PM
 
4 comments so far...
  1. I have sons and here are some of the tips I have for getting them to talk to you.
    I had better luck with conversation if we were both facing in the same direction...like in the car. I also had good luck with conversations if we were doing something else at the same time...throwing a ball, raking leaves, painting a room.
    Try very hard to be a full and interesting person in your own right. Have interests and activities that you can include your son in or tell stories about.
    I would also try to find someone supportive and comforting to help you with the sadness you feel that you don't have a close relationship with your son. Reading the Bible is excellent, but speaking to other women with sons might be a big help, too.

    Posted by Scorpiorising January 21, 10 10:06 AM
  1. My 12 year old son has lived with me his entire life and he doesn't usually want to talk to me either. It's partly that he doesn't know you well but it's also partly his age. At 12, it's pretty normal for him to want to play with his friends more than he wants to talk to his mom. Scorpiorising (comment #1) makes some very good suggestions about talking when you're doing something else or riding in the car. My son is way more talkative in the car, and even more so if he's in the back seat instead of the front. And Barbara's suggestions are great too -- my son likes to show me goofy videos on YouTube, or cool apps that he's found for his iPod. He also got very talkative when we started discussing something that he's learning in school that I don't know much about. He definitely seemed to like teaching me something. Those are great ways to get a conversation started.

    Posted by DT January 21, 10 12:43 PM
  1. Hard to comment on Daisy's difficult situation without knowing more. For e.g., can she afford to travel and spend more time with him? Since she is a US citizen, would she be able to sponsor him for an immigrant visa so he can stay with her eventually (and would he like that?). Can she afford to have him here with her for a longer period of time? It is very difficult for parents who are away, but it must be even harder for the kids!
    I feel for you Daisy - but the only way to get to know him is to spend more time with him. Boys are not very good (usually) with talking on the phone.

    Posted by chins January 21, 10 12:47 PM
  1. I agree with comment #2. My son is 16 and it's hard to get him to open up to me. I have a younger daughter and she talks to me about everything. As far as your son not living with you, I would try to change that. I am the daughter of immigrant parents and live in a city with a large immigrant population. I have heard many many stories like yours. Some of them are very sad, the children grow up not knowing their parents and resenting them for leaving them behind and/or starting new families. If you're worried about day care, he's old enough to be in school and there are many afterschool programs. You've missed so much time with him, but it's never too late!

    Posted by Diane January 21, 10 04:46 PM
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About the author

Barbara F. Meltz is a freelance writer, parenting consultant, and author of "Put Yourself in Their Shoes: Understanding How Your Children See the World." She won several awards for her weekly "Child Caring" column in the Globe, including the 2008 American Psychological Association Print Excellence award. Barbara is available as a speaker for parent groups.

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