On this week’s "Parenting" segment, one listener is concerned about her daughter’s new relationship with her son’s best friend.
“My husband and I have no issue as we think he's a lovely young man, but my son is furious,” she told Moncrieff.
“He won't speak to myself or my daughter and there is a volatile atmosphere in the house.”
She said her son is “furious” his sister will be going to his debs and attending the same parties as him.
“They have been friends for years, and I don't want to have them falling out,” the parent said.
'A degree of separation'
Child psychotherapist Joanna Fortune said the son clearly wants “a degree of separation in [his] life”, and his sister’s new relationship has changed that.
“He's allowed to have a reaction to this,” she said.
“You might not have an opposition to her boyfriend, but it is an issue in your house.”
The son might feel uncomfortable being in a group where his friend is dating his sister.
“He may be uncomfortable thinking his sister will be discussed by his friend group,” Joanna explained. “Or that it would be really awkward if they were to break up or if one was to cheat on the other.
“He may have some inside information about how girls are spoken about amongst his peer group, and this may be bringing up a whole lot of stuff for him.”
The son cannot control who his sister dates, but he can express his need for boundaries.
“I do think he's entitled to have an emotional response to this because this is also happening to him," Joanna said.
Joanna said the parent should approach both her son and daughter separately “with empathy”.
“I would sit down with him and say, ‘I get it’,” she said.
“Let him talk you through it and say you cannot get involved in saying who [his] sister can and cannot date.
“Ask what you can do to make it manageable.”
The parent should also speak to the daughter and explain why her brother is upset.
“You're almost trying to be the negotiator in between or a moderator in this role,” Joanna said.
She said the children should agree not to fight over the boyfriend/best friend’s free time.
“There does need to still be some boundaries around ‘We're hanging out together and this isn't your date time’,” she said.
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