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Here’s the story of a father who insisted on bringing his new wife, whom his son dislikes, on college tours. The son expressed discomfort and wished to have a say in who accompanied them. Tensions rose as the mother and father clashed over respecting their son’s boundaries.
An Upcoming College Student
The original poster (OP), whom we’ll refer to as Kayla, has a son, Mason, who is a senior in high school.
Prepping for College
Kayla and Mason have been touring colleges and plan to travel to several out-of-state colleges in the summer. Kayla and Phil, Mason’s biological father, split up when Mason was six months old.
Working Through Co-Parenting
Shortly after the divorce, Kayla remarried her new husband. Through it all, Phil supported Kayla’s husband and thought he was a great stepfather. Co-parenting was challenging, but they managed to work together for Mason’s sake.
Forming a New Family
Eventually, Phil met Julie, and they married after a year of dating. Julie had three kids, the eldest of which was the same age as Mason.
Navigating Co-Parenting Boundaries
Mason didn’t like Julie because he felt she interfered in his life. He also blamed Julie for not being able to spend quality time with his father.
Considering Your Child’s Comfort
Here’s where things started to take a turn for the worse. Initially, the plan was for Kayla, her husband, Mason, and Phil to visit colleges together.
Supporting Your Teen’s College Journey
As Kayla coordinated the details with Phil for their next college tour, Phil mentioned that Julie wanted to attend to be supportive.
Creating a Positive Environment
Mason immediately expressed his discomfort with Julie attending his college tours.
The strange part was that Julie’s eldest daughter was also looking at colleges but wasn’t going on tours.
Respecting Your Teen’s Autonomy
Kayla, trying to be a good mother, advised Mason to speak with his father about the matter, so he did. When Phil discovered the news, he called Kayla, furious, questioning why Mason was “involved in this matter.”
Establishing Boundaries in Co-Parenting
Ultimately, Mason accepted that his father loved Julie but didn’t see her as part of his family. Kayla told Phil that if he wanted to maintain a positive relationship with Mason, he should respect his wishes and leave Julie at home.
Respecting Individual Relationships
Not happy with these remarks, Phil defended Julie and told Kayla he should be allowed to bring her along.
Only Son Has a Say
“…Your son is the only person who gets any say here.”
Too Much Parenting
“No student needs four ‘parents’ with them on their college tour.”
“Your son is old enough to say he doesn’t want to be around someone. Also, his dad is risking seeing much less of his son once he is an adult if he forces him to spend time with a stepmother he doesn’t care for.”
Addressing Each Party’s Concerns
Based on prior encounters, Mason was uncomfortable with Julie attending his college tours. We hope this family finds a middle ground to avoid further arguments.
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