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Dear Stavroula

Ask Stavroula: My Son Wants Nothing to Do with Me

April 19, 2020

Dear Stavroula,

I will not use my real name but I will tell you my story, perhaps you can help me. About twenty years ago I had an affair with a woman from Latin America. She got pregnant and we decided to keep the baby. We lived together for two years and then for a trivial reason she took the child and left me to live on her own. She took me to court for custody of the child and over all these years I have paid large sums of money for the child support. I don’t have a good relationship with my child because his mother has been brainwashing him. Lately, however, things have gotten worse. He doesn’t call me dad anymore, he doesn’t want to see me, he doesn’t want us to go out for dinner together, because I want him to continue his education. Only when I give him money does he agree to see me. Although he is very smart (he has received a lot of awards) he has dropped out of school, stays locked up at home and is constantly on his computer and playstation. He doesn’t tell me anything about himself, I see that he doesn’t want to do anything and I’m worried. I am very worried about my child but he has rejected me. I don’t know what to do to help.

Sp.

 

Dear Sp.,

It is very difficult for a parent not to have a good relationship with his child and to feel excluded from his life, unable to help him, to advise him. In fact, there are many who can’t stand this pain and distance themselves, cutting off all contact with the child they feel has rejected them. But you are struggling to find a way to help him and with the effort and the right guidance you will succeed.

But it is very important to talk to a mental health professional. He will be able to help you understand why your relationship with your child has deteriorated, will help you to understand your own mistakes, in addition to his mother’s mistakes, and to improve your relationship with him. It will also help you find ways to work with your child’s mother, because her role is crucial to the outcome of this effort.

It is also very important for your son to see a psychologist.

You write to me that your child has dropped out of school. I don’t understand if he left high school suddenly or if he finished high school and dropped out of college. If the first one happened, what was it that led your son to drop out of school? Did the child fall victim to bullying? Did something happen at school that made it difficult for your child to deal with and he closed himself off?

When an intelligent child with excellent grades drops out of school where he has received recognition for his academic achievement, there must be something behind it. If it is not a sudden external event, it may be something that the child has inside him, which is growing and festering. Maybe it’s anger, maybe it’s intense anxiety, intense sadness, or some other emotion that he has to deal with and move on with his life.

Finally, the case of addiction to video games, which is the scourge of our time, should be checked. Many young people today are looking for a way out through virtual reality and are often unable to set limits on the use of electronic media. In this case, too, it is important to find the cause of the addiction.

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