My husband and I have been married for six years. We have three children. Four-year old-twins and a twelve-year-old son I had from a previous relationship. While my husband has not officially adopted my son, he has been the only father my son has known for the last six years. Recently my son's father contacted me and wants to see and develop a relationship with his son and my husband thinks it's a bad idea. Because my son's father spent time in jail and doesn't have as much money as we do, my husband feels my son's father is not the best example. My husband is an attorney and able to provide very well for our family. My husband is also uncomfortable with me communicating with my son's father. While I want my child to know his real father, I don't want to upset our home or make my husband uncomfortable. How should I deal with this situation?
Concerned Wife and Mother
It seems that blended families are becoming the norm. Very seldom do you meet someone today who does not already have children from a previous marriage or relationship. I too am in a blended family situation and I know that the many different relationships can be difficult to manage. But as adults and parents, we have to be able to put our personal feelings and insecurities aside and make decisions in the best interest of the children involved.
I understand you wanting to upset the current dynamics of your home. It is always commendable when a man steps in and can care for another man's child as his own (and vice versa when it is a woman stepping up to the plate), but that does not automatically erase the child's need to have a relationship with their biological parent.
While I do not know the full circumstances surrounding your situation and previous relationship with your child's father, I know the importance of a child having a relationship with both of their parents. If your son's father has a genuine interest in developing a relationship with his son, his past, his occupation and financial status should not be used as the sole factors to keep him away. While finances are certainly needed to care for a child, it is not the only thing a parent can provide.
You have shared your husband's insecurities and your feelings about wanting to keep peace, but what you did not share was your son's feelings. At twelve years old, I am sure that he also has some feelings about the matter. Have you and your husband sat down and talked with your son? Despite the fact that your husband has been an excellent provider, your son may have his own feelings and needs concerning a relationship with his biological father that have nothing to do with you or your husband and the love he has either of you. If your son wants a relationship with his father, you and your husband need to be encouraging and supportive. Don't allow your own insecurities to influence or hinder such an important relationship in a child's life.
I also encourage you, your husband, and your son's father to all sit down and communicate with one another like adults with one common concern, the welfare of your son.
Author of the upcoming book Been There Done That: And Lived to Tell About It (due out Spring 2011), Tamara R. Allen is Your Advice Guru giving REAL advice from REAL experience. Email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow Tamara on twitter @tamararallen or check out her daily column and archives at www.tamararallen.com.