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I have an 11-year-old son. His father wanted me to abort him. Now, he has seen him for the first time on Saturday. The father has never seen him prior or reached out to ask about him or try to see him. The father even said "I love you, I always have" to my son. A complete stranger does that to him. That pissed me off! Now he says he hadn't reached out sooner because he couldn't/can't afford it, then why reach out now!?

I am worried I am going to protect him too much, where my son will get mad at me. Any suggestions on how to handle this man/father in his life?

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    What was the situation in which they met? Is there any sort of legal arrangement or understanding in place with the father? What is your son's current opinion about their meeting and his father? What did he know about his father before that meeting? There's a lot of additional information that you could include that would be helpful for getting good Answers. – Acire Nov 7 '16 at 17:58
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    So is the question how to help your son with what happened or how to help you deal with the father? I see both questions in here and they will require very different answers. Focus on one or the other. If you want both answered (assuming both can be on-topic questions that can stand on their own), split this into two separate questions. – Becuzz Nov 7 '16 at 18:30
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    If your online handle matches your real name, I'd suggest having the question anonymized. You don't want your son finding out that his father wanted to abort him by googling your name. – Myles Nov 7 '16 at 20:32
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    While you may not feel like it is the complete truth, would you prefer your son hearing from his biological father "I wish you were never born"? No? Then maybe you should examine why his saying that pissed you off to that extent. He could very well have said that because he felt it was the right thing to do for your son. – PoloHoleSet Nov 8 '16 at 21:29
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I agree we could use more background, and will edit this answer as more is posted.

You have a perfect right to be upset and worried; upset because you did all the parenting without an iota of help from the father, and worried because the father doesn't have a good track record of being a loving, supportive and responsible person.

However, this is about what your son a) needs, and b) wants. You know your son better than anyone else. If he has expressed thoughts that indicate he felt abandoned/unloved by his father's lack of involvement in his life, this is an opportunity to mitigate this feeling to some extent (probably not greatly - abandonment issues run quite deep for most - but maybe so; his father might be a much better man now.) Your son deserves the opportunity. I will not comment on what his father deserves, because this is about your son, not the father.

Your son may need this desperately, not at all, or anything in between, but at 11, unless there is abuse involved, it should be his choice. It's what he wants to do, or he would have expressed a reluctance to do so.

I don't know what country you're in, but the father may have a right, even at this late date, to contact his son as well.

My advice is that you exercise caution quietly, and withhold any strongly negative opinions you may have about his father, about his father's treatment of you, or about the fact that he wanted his son to be aborted. That kind of information doesn't help your son to deal with his loss at all; it only makes you feel heard (which is understandable; you've been through a lot.) However, hearing your feelings is not your son's job; express negative feelings and concerns to a friend or family member, but please protect your son from feeling even worse about his predicament.

By quiet caution, I mean pay careful attention to anything your son reveals about the meeting(s), his mood and behavior after visits, changes in his school or social performance, anything that might indicate that the visits do more harm than good. Give him an opportunity to discuss his feelings, whatever they are, because he needs the most important person in his life to be able to work this out with. If he has positive feelings, he may be reluctant to share them if he knows you have strongly negative feelings about the man, so as difficult as it may seem, try to express happiness for him if he is tentatively positive in his discussions. Encourage without bias all honest discussion, positive, neutral or negative.

If these meetings seem to meet some need in your son and don't seem to cause any harm, let them continue. It will be showing a great deal of respect for your son that he will appreciate not only now but when he has children of his own.

If the visits seem to be causing any harm, get involved. Again, talk to your son about his feelings. If it's just that he's conflicted, he might do well to have a therapist to talk to also. Abandonment issues are not easily resolved.

If he seems to be actively harmed by or expresses that he doesn't want to continue the visits, stop them and talk to a lawyer.

As to how to 'handle' the father, that depends on how the father treats you and your son. You owe him nothing, but the kind thing to do for your son's sake is to treat him politely. If he's unkind to you but kind to your son, you can have extremely limited contact (just a brief meeting at the point of exchange). If he's kind to you, how much further you want to go (e.g. letting him come into the house when picking up your son, etc.) is completely up to you. If you want to entertain your son's thoughts on this, remaining open to suggestion is great. However, this is really your decision, not your son's or anyone else's.

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I did know my father but only when young and I do feel the loss. He has since died, and its too late. There is an understandable fear of letting the genie out of the bottle, especially in the light of his apparent treatment of you and an understandable negative view of it. Teh caring, deserted parent always feels resentful of a weekend-only parent. Someone else that you trust (and your son trusts) should ride shotgun for you on these visits, as a "civiliser", but also to tell you if you're being too negative.

If your son picks up your negativity then he might refuse to meet again and resent it at a future stage if he feels it was detrimental to him. Equally you should squash the whole thing and seek advice if things are (obviously to all) not working.

I wasnt very good at being a father to start with, but I'm better now (although still imperfect). Maybe that's true of him also.

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I was raised by a single mother, right from the start. I have a huge respect for single parents. It is not easy. When I was very small, my mother washed our clothes in the bathtub. My father never sent a dime in child support.

I met my father a handful of times. He didn't know how to relate to children, and sometimes it was awkward, sometimes emotionally painful for me. I have mixed feelings about him now. But I'm glad I was able to meet him a few times for myself.

He was a troubled person, and died when I was 13. I regret that I wasn't able to know him when I was a little older, since I think he would have had an easier time relating to me if I hadn't been so young those few times we met.

Given your strong feelings -- which are totally understandable -- I suggest you have someone else supervise the visits. You could ask a friend or relative, or you could arrange for a social worker with the Department of Social Services to do the supervision.

You will need to do some venting through this process, of course. The whole thing will be better for your son if you are very careful not to do it with him, or even in his hearing.

This would be a good time for you to strengthen your support network.

By the way, DSS can also help you get child support payments.

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It is difficult to get past the fact that the father:

  1. Abandoned his son for 11 years
  2. Wished that he were dead

In my opinion, your son is better off, despite the emotional pain he might be currently experiencing, without a man like this in his life.

Still, it seems that the father is showing remorse, but he'll have to address these two things with his son if there is to be any hope of salvaging a father-son relationship.

I know that your son is only 11, and there is no need (I recommend against it, in fact) to be as blunt as I am, but these are things that your son needs to know, preferably from his father.

My recommendation is that you discuss these things with the father telling him that he has to "come clean" before any further visits are allowed. If he refuses, then you have to tell your son as gently as possible with the understanding that only his father can tell him "why".

Be prepared for the father to deny, perhaps by pre-speculating that the father may have wanted to abort his son due to fear and panic.

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