Seeking a home for son

Dear Thelma

I AM a single parent with a young son and we live with my parents and siblings. I left my high-paying job after a bitter divorce as I was very depressed and traumatised.

As such, I made major changes in my career just to be closer to my son. He suffers emotionally, too, as he misses his father. I feel very bad – why should he suffer for the mistakes of his parents?

Two years of living with my family has become torturous for the two of us. My family is very disoriented – they lead a picture perfect life, but the members are constantly bickering at home. There’s never a day without shouting and quarrelling.

I love a peaceful and quiet environment when I come back after a tiring day. I work two jobs as I’m the sole breadwinner for myself and my son. I am able to give him good meals and an education, but not a suitable home environment. He sees my family shouting and using harsh words and this has affected him deeply.

He still remembers whatever physical and verbal abuse I encountered with his father. For the past few months he has not been doing well in school. I have had complaints that he screams and shouts during lessons. He has hit two boys from his class.

I seriously do not know what to do. My son is a great “mentor” for me as he is the only soul who keeps me alive to go on. But I feel that my current condition, especially on the home front, is not doing him any good.

I want something better for him. I have become more spiritual but at home, everything crumbles around me.

I am seeking your help to find us a home, maybe a shelter home. Since I am not financially sound, I am unable to move out and I need my family’s help financially.

Is there any place for us where we can live peacefully?

I need to do something fast as my son’s behaviour has changed a lot. I am afraid he might become violent in future. Could you, or anyone reading this, suggest a place for us?


CHILDREN deal with difficult situations quite differently from adults. Your son’s behaviour, as you have rightly observed, is a result of what he has experienced and witnessed in your marriage, and your current domestic situation.

You should not feel guilty about that, nor should you think you are to blame. It sounds like you are trying your best to deal with a difficult situation.

If a temporary home is what you are looking for, you can try contacting the Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO; 03-7957 5636; They do have a temporary shelter for women and children.

But if you feel that this arrangement will not work for you, you can speak to the social workers at WAO to explore other avenues. Your work situation and other matters will be taken into consideration in selecting your options.

While it is true that children learn through modelling behaviour, this does not mean that it is inevitable that your son will become violent. Teaching him alternatives to violence, and talking to him about violent behaviour, amongst other things, will help him see that there are options.

Also, it is crucial to start talking to him about respecting others, and gender equality. Actually, you can get guidance from WAO on this matter as well.

But kudos to you for detecting this problem early and deciding that you want a change.

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