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A Look into the Life of Being In Loco Parentis

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Standing in Place of the Parents - Overruling Biological Parents

There are times when I overrule Matthew’s biological parents, but I never do it lightly, even when I’m mad at them. I’ve gone to great lengths to find out what they wanted for Matthew, to understand their views, their values, and their personal desires for their son. I’m sure I don’t know all that they had in mind, but I do try to keep these things close to heart when making decisions for Matthew.

Matthew’s father and I live within walking distance of each other, but Matthew lives with me. His father tries to assert his parental role, usually at unexpected times and almost always with a significant amount of bravado.  For a while, I let it happen, maybe out of morbid curiosity to see WHAT would happen and how he (the father) would deal with things. We all learned the hard way. Matthew began having more nightmares and the communication switchboard to the school seemed to light up like a Christmas tree. I gave Matthew more support, reminded him of different ways he could communicate with his dad. But in the end, it was all for naught; Matthew’s father is hard-headed and refuses to listen to sound advice because it just doesn’t work for him. I simply could not let it go on. So I put my foot down and stopped overnight visits on school nights. Whoa! I know it was a bold move, and I can’t claim to have relished the decision, maybe because I can’t stand his father and there were elements that could have been construed as vindictive. I didn’t want to go there. Even still, it surprised me that I was rather sick over it for two weeks before I finally put an end to it. Once I removed the personal feelings I have for Matthew’s father, the decision and resolve became almost automatic. With all the facts in front of me, it was a no-brainer, but I had to move past my other feelings to do what I knew had to be done. In spite of my despise for the man, he did entrust his son to me. I do feel a certain gratitude for that in spite of all my other feelings for him. Sometimes the biological parents teeter on a tightrope of what’s appropriate for Matthew. I try to keep an open mind, but in the end, it is my job to protect Matthew and make sure that all of his needs are met. I really don’t want to go against the parents and overrule them, but sometimes what’s in Matthew’s best interest is not what they had in mind, and since Matthew is in my legal custody, it’s my decision to make those difficult calls.

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Standing in place of the parent, or acting parent, or "in loco parentis" is a big job that comes with a unique set challenges. I created this blog to share my story and my experiences with those who find themselves in a similiar situation. I look forward to hearing your comments!

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