Nikkimom37 asks:

My husband and I seperated almost a year ago and my 5 year old son still refuses to sleep over his place. He won't give any reasons why.

We seperated last June after my husband became abusive. He was always controlling and argumentative but I had enough after he became physical with me. He has never hurt our son and loves him very much. I need a break and my husband desperately wants more time with his son. I am afraid to push him too hard in this area.
In Topics: Single parent families
> 60 days ago



Apr 30, 2012
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What the Expert Says:

I'm sorry you are having a difficult time.  It's good you realize that your son needs to spend time with his father- children need a relationship with both their mom and dad.

But, if your son is refusing to spend the night at his dad's place- and there is a history of abusive behavior- it's time for some investigation. I know you said your ex-husband has never hurt his son, but your son is still afraid of being at his house, alone at night.

Find a local child therapist. I recommend an LMFT or someone that has "play therapy" in their qualifications. Let a therapist talk with your son and figure out what's going on.

If your son has nothing to fear, the therapist will help him with this. If there are some real concerns, then these will also need to be dealt with. It's possible your son only needs supervised visits with his dad, and these may not include over night visits (unless another adult is present.)

You are right that your son needs time with his dad, but find out what your son's concerns are about, before having him spend the night.

I wish you the very best.

Shirley Cress Dudley, MA LPC NCC FACMPE
Expert for single, divorced and blended families
Executive director of The Blended and Step Family Resource Center
Best selling author of the book, Blended Family Advice
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